Trends in STEM Hiring: What Employers are Looking For

10 June 2024

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Pam McGee

The landscape of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) hiring is undergoing significant transformation. With rapid advances in technology, and changing industry needs, the skills and attributes that employers seek in potential candidates are evolving. Understanding these trends is crucial for both job seekers aiming to enhance their employability and employers striving to attract top talent.

Skills in STEM

STEM-related industries often have a high demand for professionals equipped with both technical experience and ‘core’ skills (sometimes called ‘soft skills’).

Here are some of the key trends we’re seeing in STEM recruitment:

Interdisciplinary Knowledge: Employers increasingly value candidates with interdisciplinary expertise – for instance, an engineer with knowledge of data science or a biologist proficient in software development. This reflects the nature of modern projects that often require a blend of various skills.

You can demonstrate this by learning technical skills, undertaking work experience, or exploring areas which interest you outside your academic specialism.

Advanced Technical Skills: Proficiency in specific technical skills remains a cornerstone of STEM hiring. In engineering, skills such as computer-aided design (CAD), robotics, and automation are in high demand. In technology fields, expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cybersecurity, and cloud computing is particularly sought after.

Make sure you highlight relevant skills, qualifications and experience on your CV. Try to quantify your achievements where possible.

Problem-Solving Abilities: Beyond technical skills, employers are keen on hiring individuals who can approach complex problems with innovative solutions. This involves not only analytical thinking but also creativity and the ability to apply knowledge in practical contexts.

Be ready to talk about your problem-solving skills at interview and give specific examples of the challenges you’ve faced and how you dealt with them.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The fast-paced nature of technological advancements requires an adaptable and committed workforce. Employers are keen to see candidates who demonstrate a willingness to update their skills and knowledge regularly.

Look for professional development courses, certifications, and self-learning to demonstrate your curiosity and interest in emerging technologies.

Collaboration and Communication: Core skills, such as effective communication and teamwork, are increasingly important in the workplace. STEM professionals are often required to work in multidisciplinary teams, making the ability to communicate technical information to non-specialists a valuable trait.

Emerging Technologies Shaping Job Requirements

Emerging technologies are not only creating new job roles but also redefining existing ones. Here are some of the technologies at the forefront of this transformation:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI and ML are changing many sectors, from healthcare to finance. The demand for professionals who can develop, implement, and manage AI solutions is increasing. Skills in programming languages like Python, knowledge of AI frameworks, and an understanding of data analytics are now in demand.

Internet of Things (IoT): The proliferation of IoT devices has led to a need for experts in sensor technology, network security, and data management. Professionals who can design and manage IoT ecosystems, ensuring secure and efficient operation, are highly sought after.

Blockchain Technology: Initially popularised by cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is finding applications in diverse fields, including supply chain management, healthcare, and finance. Knowledge of blockchain development, smart contracts, and decentralised applications (DApps) is becoming important for many tech roles.

Renewable Energy and Sustainability: The global shift towards sustainable energy solutions is driving demand for engineers and scientists specialising in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Expertise in energy storage systems, sustainable materials, and environmental impact assessment is increasingly valued.

Biotechnology and Genomics: Advances in biotechnology and genomics are opening new frontiers in medicine and agriculture. Skills in genetics, bioinformatics, and molecular biology are in demand as these areas continue to grow.


The current job market for STEM professionals is heavily heavily by technological advancements and evolving industry requirements. Employers are looking for candidates who possess a combination of technical and core skills, who can adapt to new technologies, and who demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning. For job seekers, being aware of these trends and continuously updating their skillsets can set them apart. For employers, understanding these trends is key to attracting and retaining top talent in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The future of STEM hiring lies in the ability to navigate these changes and harness the potential of emerging technologies to drive innovation and growth.

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