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The STEM recruitment race in Europe is Over.

In Our Authors, Steve McNally, Talent Insight, Talent Research & Trends by Steve @ Resource CentralLeave a Comment

The Candidate has won.

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Cedefop, the Thessaloniki-based European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, predicts that this year, there will be a shortage of 380,000–700,000 ICT workers in Europe. Germany alone is short of 114,000 STEM-skilled workers in January 2015.

It doesn’t take a STEM-skilled Rocket Scientist to work out the problem. There’s not enough qualified talent in Europe to meet demand. STEM skills (i.e. those IT-type skillsets that typically emanate from the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing) fell off a cliff a generation ago, in most countries, on all continents. Only Brazil and China are ‘self-sufficient’ in producing enough home-grown technical talent.

How will Europe respond to such a damaging talent shortfall? In the short-term, it’s very difficult to see where a response can come from. The past decade has seen a global race for STEM skills, being as they are the key drivers of innovation (particularly in manufacturing, the sector which has helped Asian economies grow exponentially). World-wide, there are few talent markets with the sufficient skills to meet the demand. In the world’s largest economy – the US – imported talent is necessary to meet increasing demand. Across North America, STEM employment has grown three times more than non-STEM employment over the last 12 years – with several large US firms having to move their R&D operations offshore. Because the people ‘aren’t there’.

Europe is in a similar position to the US, but with less flexible immigration policies to address market demand. China, as you might expect, is on the rise in terms of STEM-skill supply. During the 11th five year guideline (2006-2010) a staggering $32 billion state investment has produced equally staggering results: this year, 41% of all Chinese students will graduate with a STEM-related degree. The rest of the world is catching up – Accenture predicts that Brazil will have increased its engineering graduate base by 68% between 2010 and 2016, producing more PhD engineers than the US by 2016. And talent is moving around – last year, some 30% of start-ups in Bangalore and Beijing were set up by graduates of US universities.

Longer-term, Europe has an opportunity to recover. But it will require a paradigm shift. The skillsets within Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing started out as the domain of male workers. And they remain so. The answer is to change educational systems – and, to a degree, the values that dictate social conditioning. That is the only ‘real’ way to transform the STEM skills shortage for the next generation because, demographically, a sufficient talent pool simply isn’t there – at the moment.

Summary

In an age that needs to respect human capital, the fact that a candidate community has ‘won’ is no bad thing. But for European companies and societies at large, it’s a structural challenge that demands fresh thinking – and radically new practices.

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Steve @ Resource Central
Director of Brand & Communications @ Resource Central Ltd
25 years' experience in recruitment marketing and employment communications. 36 CIPD and RAD Awards for clients who include Accenture, Aviva, British Airways, Deloittes, IBM, Nestle, Oracle, Pepsico, PwC, RBS, Tesco and Xerox. Global EVP projects for organisations as diverse as Airbus Industries, Pfizer and Rank Group plc. Team Lead for 'Heart, Mind & Soul' engagement solutions.

Please Like & Share

Steve @ Resource Central
Director of Brand & Communications @ Resource Central Ltd
25 years' experience in recruitment marketing and employment communications. 36 CIPD and RAD Awards for clients who include Accenture, Aviva, British Airways, Deloittes, IBM, Nestle, Oracle, Pepsico, PwC, RBS, Tesco and Xerox. Global EVP projects for organisations as diverse as Airbus Industries, Pfizer and Rank Group plc. Team Lead for 'Heart, Mind & Soul' engagement solutions.