The employability skills STEM graduates need now

If you are looking to start or advance your career in STEM, there is no doubt that technical knowledge is crucial to the employability skills STEM graduates need.

However, “soft skills”, i.e. people, social and communication skills, character traits, attitudes, social and emotional intelligence are becoming more and more appreciated in STEM industries.

Technical skills are not longer enough

Tech companies do require specific knowledge in; math, science and technology, being up to date with the state of the art tech in your industry, problem solving and analytical skills, research capabilities, and troubleshooting skills.

But employers are also on the search for great communicators, cooperative and empathetic employees, team builders and creatives.

In the recruiting pages of Google, Atlassian and Facebook, big tech companies emphasise values such as passion, curiosity, desire to learn and to take on challenges.

Niamh McPherson, consultant at Deloitte, a professional service firm, says “We look for capabilities in active learning, critical thinking, complex problem solving and creative problem solving which correlate closely with STEM qualification based skills.”

Additionally, “the values of importance are passion, integrity and respect for others.”

Adaptability is key

As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) reorient the nature of both STEM and non-STEM jobs, “human” talents become essential.

A study conducted at the end of last year by the McKinsey Global Institute found that about 50% of current work activities have the potential for automation and 6 of 10 current occupations have more than 30% of activities that can be automated.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs, by 2020 about 5 million jobs will be lost as AI and robotics will replace human workers. However, more than 2.1 million new type of jobs will be created.

In such evolving scenario, two things will make the difference in finding a job: your ability to rapidly adapt to changes and a great set of transferable soft skills.

Companies will always need people. The majority of CEOs who responded to a PwC’s survey about the power of human skills in the machine age, see the value of combining technology with exclusively human capabilities.

Although CEOs are keen to maximise the benefits of automation, 39% of them are considering how AI is changing the skill sets they need in their businesses.

“Finding the skills they need has become the biggest threat to their business, they say, but the skills they’re looking for are particularly telling: problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, leadership, creativity and innovation top the list.”

– Manuela Callari

artificial intelligence

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