- Sixty-eight percent of U.S. workers would focus on studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, if they could restart their educational journeys at age 18, according to a Randstad US survey.
- The observation may have something to do with the value employees see in STEM occupations, Randstad said, as 60% of respondents believe their employers have trouble recruiting talent for such roles. Sixty-two percent said their employers should invest more in developing digital skills, yet just under half are personally investing time into learning about artificial intelligence — in part because their employers aren't providing such training.
- American employees are more optimistic about being replaced by technology compared to their peers in other countries, Randstad said, as only 27% of U.S. respondents feel they'll be replaced in the next five to 10 years. More than half (58%) of U.S. workers said they believe it will increasingly become difficult for their employers to meet demand for talent in the future.
The search for skilled workers continues to challenge employers, and it isn't likely to let up soon. According to a 2018 survey by the Consumer Technology Association, 74% of employers said they expected finding employees with technical skills would become more difficult. Employees may be ready to improve their digital skill sets, but too few employers offer needed training. Similar to Randstad's survey, other research shows workers are taking charge of their own learning.
Employees, after all, appear to understand the value of technical skills in areas including STEM, Graig Paglieri, group president, Randstad technologies and engineering, said in a statement. Paglieri added that those in non-STEM careers don't necessarily have career regrets, nor do they necessarily think their jobs will be taken over by automation. "However, it's clear most people think having at least some formal STEM education continues to be valuable in today's job climate," he said.
STEM continues to be an area of considerable need, and top companies are backing programming and partnerships to diversify talent pipelines. Google, for example, has created training grants to serve specific demographics that may lack access to technological training, including Latino students and youth in rural and underserved communities. Competitor Facebook, which recently said it aims for minorities in STEM to make up 50% of its workforce by 2024, has made similar investments.