The Future of Work: STEM Training Is Important, But Likely Not Enough

Stem versus liberal artsImage credit:777546 / Pixabay

For the past few years, many companies have been going “all in” on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives when hiring towards tomorrow.  Strategies at both enterprise and small or mid-sized organizations range anywhere from focused hiring efforts today to influencing the curriculum in middle schools around the world.  All in the hopes of generating both interest and the proficiency of tomorrow’s candidates within these fields of technology and science.

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But will STEM training be enough?

Piggy-backing on a recently recommended reading from CXR friend John Sumser, where he mentions the book, “You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education” we’d share with you a quote from the executive summary of a recent American Academy of Arts and Sciences report,  The Heart of the Matter.

“Three out of four employers want schools to place more emphasis on the skills that the humanities and social sciences teach: critical thinking and complex problem-solving, as well as written and oral communication.”

The TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) can be summed up simply to employers by asking them one question.  Are you focused equally on building teams that have the skills to solve the technical challenges of tomorrow but who also possess, or are complimented with, the critical thinking and communication skills or people to understand and share the complexities of the work to their leaders and/or customers?

We’re confident that the need for STEM skills in future candidates won’t subside anytime soon.  Even within the recruiting industry, we continue to see an exponential interest in the field of Recruiting Automation (A.I., machine learning, etc. for recruiting processes) and found an excellent example of the need for softer skills in a recent conversation with a leader from one of our current CareerXroads member companies.

“The ‘artificial intelligence’ solution the vendor was showing me could have been exactly what I needed.  But this guy just couldn’t explain the product to me in plain terms and I can’t invest in that.”

Vendors might want to let that last part sink in for a moment.


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Chris Hoyt

A veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology, ERE and others in the USA as well as UNLEASH, iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and President at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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