STEM-related industries are vital to the U.S. economy, contributing over $2 trillion dollars and supporting 69% of the GDP. STEM roles are also desirable jobs for U.S. workers, on average paying more than twice as much as non-STEM jobs, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a shortage of skilled STEM workers poses a significant threat to economic growth and technical innovation, fueling a need to develop and retain STEM talent and encourage future generations to pursue STEM degrees. In fact, it is predicted the United States will have to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025.
Given the robust need to attract, retain, and grow skilled STEM workers for not only the success of individual organizations, but also in support of the U.S. economy as a whole, the Bright Horizons Workforce Consulting team surveyed early to mid-career employees in organizations dependent upon STEM workers to understand what they need in order to stay and grow in STEM fields.
Employees shared that child care and education are essential. In fact:
- 92% said an opportunity to advance their STEM education would impact their decision to leave their current employer for another STEM organization.
- While 96% of those surveyed say it is important to grow their career in the next 1-3 years, a majority of parents (67%) believe that child care obligations are holding them back from career growth.
- Child care difficulties are also impacting their attendance at work (54%), productivity (40%), collaboration (34%) and innovation (34%).
Nationwide, child care and education benefits are needed in order to attract new talent, retain current talent, shine light on STEM organizations as a desirable career choice for STEM degree holders, and foster an environment conducive to collaboration and innovation. By recognizing the importance of child care and supporting employees who need it, employers can unleash the full potential of their workforce, leading to fresh perspectives and groundbreaking advancements that benefit the employee, employer, and broader economy.
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About the Survey
To be included in the survey, participants had to be U.S. residents between the ages of 21 and 45, employed or previously employed in a STEM organization (including CHIP/Semiconductors, auto/aviation, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and similar), with a household income over $50,000 per year, currently a parent of a child under the age of 6 and/or planning to have children in the future. The survey was conducted online in July 2023.