The number of jobs in science, research, engineering and technology (STEM) will grow at double the rate of other careers, providing an additional 142,000 new jobs in the UK between now and 2023.
In a report by the Social Market Foundation and EDF, researchers estimate that a total of 640,000 STEM jobs will need to be filled over the next six years, with many of these jobs being new roles created within emerging industries.
As the world frets about the threat to jobs caused by robotics and the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the report is upbeat about the prospect of new jobs being created by sectors including construction, specialised construction, retail and head office positions.
The financial services sector, the legal profession and public relations agencies are also expected to require an increasing number of workers with skills in research, technology and engineering.
The report also noted the continuing disparity between the number of women in STEM professions, and their male counterparts. Only 19 per cent of STEM jobs are currently filled by women, while 36 per cent of women are graduating in science subjects, compared with 46 per cent of men. This is despite girls continuing to outperform boys in science subjects at school, averaging 74 per cent A-C versus 69 per cent A-C for boys.
Although there is strong future demand for STEM professionals, the report’s authors estimate that there is currently a shortfall of 40,000 science graduates in the UK.
Nida Broughton, chief economist at the Social Market Foundation, said: “Investments in infrastructure and the pace of technological innovation means growth in science, research, engineering and technology careers will continue to outpace other occupations.
“That’s a big opportunity for today’s girls and a challenge for the UK’s industrial strategy. It’s essential that we invest in the skills and training so that the UK can meet this demand – and encouraging more women to consider science will be critical to our success.”
Some of the jobs these young professionals could be filling in the future include: geotechnical design engineers; robotics engineers; data scientists and intelligence consultants.