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Stem jobs will grow twice as fast as other occupations, finds report

Growth is being driven by factors including the pace of infrastructure investment and digital innovation

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Science, research, engineering and technology jobs will grow at double the rate of other occupations creating 142,000 extra jobs between now and 2023, according to new research.

The study, called Jobs of the Future, was conducted by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) on behalf of EDF Energy as part of its “Pretty Curious” programme to inspire more girls to consider science and technology careers. 

The research found that jobs in Stem will grow twice as fast as other careers (6% versus 3%), driven by factors including the pace of infrastructure investment and digital innovation.

The study found that 22% or 142,000 of the vacancies in science, research, engineering and technology created between 2016 and 2023 will be new jobs. The industries creating the highest number of new jobs include; construction (43%), specialised construction (63%) and retail and head offices (both 36%).

The research revealed that there will be a shortfall in the number of graduates and apprentices available to fill these roles, including a 40% shortfall in engineering.

Jobs of the future will include computer coders; geotechnical design engineers; intelligence consultants; robotics engineers; data scientists, according to the report.

The study concluded that getting more girls to consider these careers is essential to the success of UK industrial strategy – currently women are less than a quarter of the workforce in four of the five most in-demand industries.

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.”

The report found that in 2016 there were an estimated 462,000 women working in Stem jobs (19%); if there was gender parity that number would be 1.2 million. In addition, women are particularly underrepresented in the roles and industries identified in the report as likely to see the most job openings in the future, such as in computing services (16%), architecture (10%), specialist construction (8%) and construction (13%).

To coincide with the release of the report, EDF Energy has launched a virtual reality film to help girls see successful women at work in Stem-related careers. The ‘Pretty Curious’ programme aims to change the perception of Stem subjects and help address the lack of women entering the industry.

Sarah Flannigan, chief information officer at EDF Energy, said: “We rely on the talents of people with a variety of Stem skills and recognise the critical need to inspire more young women to enter these fields. That is why we’re aiming to increase our intake of female Stem apprentices to 30% by 2018 and we hope by using innovative technology that appeals to teens, we will reach more girls and inspire them to consider science and technology careers.”


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