When it comes to explaining STEM’s weird influx of troubled majors, the first thing that comes to mind is simple supply and demand: flood the market with supply, and there will be a huge boost in unemployment, even with the increased demand for STEM jobs. Trying to get a job in the same field as 100 candidates is harder than in a pool of 50 candidates, especially if there’s only one job available. Yet, the promise of a packed paycheck makes STEM an appetizing choice, even though parts of the market are overstuffed. Reverse the process, and you have a plausible explanation for the other half of represented majors: no one wants the “meager” salary of a teacher, and since supply decreases dramatically, demand increases. I’m not trying to bash people for wanting more of a living, here; what I’m trying to say is that if you entered your field only for the paycheck, you’ll be sorely mistaken when you’re up against the driven, passionate individuals whose “demand” is inherent in their personalities and work ethic.
In fact, Georgetown’s stats affirm that there are only two ways (across all fields) to make your “demand” increase: have experience, or have a graduate degree. In these times, an undergrad degree has become one of the minimum requirements for almost ANY career field. Logically, in order to attain higher status, you need experience with your field, whether that’s in the classroom or outside it. Employers want educated, prepared individuals, the leaders and creative go-getters who are ready to contribute, which means that being another “cog in the machine” leads to, in the best case scenario, career insecurity.
Once again, our situation revolves around standing out and being the best possible choice when you put your name out there. It’s proving that you have Hard Skills and flourishing them with those all-important Soft Skills. So I guess the question now is something like, “What are my Soft Skills, and how do I build those?” Friends, the answers are simpler than you think.
This is post 5 of 6 in a series concerning college grads and employment. Come back next week at 10 for the final part!
Andy’s LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/theandyhorner
Georgetown Article: https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/HardTimes2015-Report.pdf