If you can tick off all these STEM skills, you’re super employable

STEM skills - young girl is creating robotics

talent for science is an obvious choice when it comes to working in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) field, but did you know, according to a recent World Economic Forum*, human-based skills – such as critical thinking, creativity and people management – have reached top-10 status when it comes to scoring a cool career.

If you’ve wondered what it even means to be part of the science scene, read on. We talked to the experts and paid attention when the big guns shared their smarts!

Employability checklist

How many STEM skills boxes can you tick RN?

(   ) Problem solving

(   ) Creativity

(   ) Critical thinking (testing your theory/asking the right questions)

(   ) Investigative drive

(   ) Statistics orientated

(   ) Decision making

(   ) Intellectual curiosity

(   ) Flexibility

(   ) Argumentation – supporting your claim

(   ) Entrepreneurial focus

(   ) Tech knowledge

(   ) Researching

TOP 3!

Need even more inspo as to why becoming an expert in STEM-orientated skills is a brilliant career move? You’re not just limited to working in a lab. Oh-no. The top three industries for STEM employment are:

#1 Mining:

Think companies like BHP Billiton, Santos and Shell, and start polishing your resume stat!

#2 Education and training:

It’s the job that keeps on giving. Pass on your love and knowledge for the STEM world by teaching the next wave of grads (and get paid handsomely to do it!).

#3 Electricity, gas, water and waste:

Yep, the services are all over the STEM employment movement. Go on, make a difference.

What are STEM skills exactly?

“Most people who work in STEM are practical and think logically about problem solving. People in STEM are incredibly diverse, but we all tend to have that logical thought process running throughout.”

– Marlee Hutton, Marine Scientist, Bardi Jawi woman from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, Research technician with CSIRO’s Coastal Ecosystems team.

STEM skills snapshot

Here’s the percentage of employers who value the following STEM skills

70% – Active learning (i.e. learning on the job)

22% – Programming

23% – System analysis and evaluation

58% – Complex problem solving & critical thinking

Research by the Australian Government’s Office of the Chief Scientist has found that employers are all over the need for STEM-skilled people (like you!) in their workplaces. Here’s why…

Design thinking is a priority for bosses in information technology, media and telco sectors

Jobs in finance, insurance, construction, health and social industries rate STEM qualifications higher than non-STEM backgrounds

Learning on the job, understanding business and creative problem solving are key for Aussie employers

Businesses say STEM-qualified staff are the most innovative

The fastest growing pay packets in STEM*


(the study of metallic compounds and extracting metals. AKA big biz in mining!)

$158K – 3.3%

Vet science:

$151K – 1.8%

Food science and tech:

$125K- 3.1%


$150K – 2.6%


$133K – 2.6%

*Note these are at the highest level of payment. For more info on starting salaries and salaries changes, search payscale.com

Which skills can you count in your STEM skill repertoire? Comment below!

Pippa Duffy

Author: Pippa Duffy

Refraction Media’s Deputy Editor, Pippa has a passion for sharing cool, interesting information and spreading the STEM message.


  1. Hi Tara

    These are the maximum salaries and come from the most recent Professional Scientists Employment and Renumeration report. Agree, this could be misleading for students starting out on their careers – we’ve added a note to the text, thanks for the feedback.


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