Candidates with experience and training in STEM are in high demand across the globe. As our economy advances, continuing a shift toward higher-quality products, more technical services and breakthrough technology, there is an increase in companies who need high performance technology skills but a decrease in the number of qualified candidates.
This discrepancy is most closely felt in the recruitment process, where it can take a month or longer on average to find the right candidate for the job. In fact, with just over 500,000 computing jobs remaining vacant (as of July 2019), there are only 60,000 computer science students entering the workforce – a demand that outpaces supply by nearly 8 times. As it relates to STEM specifically, there are projected to be roughly 9 million STEM jobs by 2022, at the same time 1.5 million service members will be retiring and seeking civilian employment.
As we’ve asserted for years at Sharp Decisions, companies who do not look to veterans for these skills are missing a major opportunity to augment their talent. Veterans have some of the best training in the world – not only in technology but in leadership and management as well.
Last month, Congress passed an important bill that will direct federal agencies to integrate more veterans into the abundance of STEM jobs that are already open across the country. Specifically, the Veterans in STEM Careers Act calls for the “National Science Foundation to increase its outreach efforts and home in on the programs under its purview that could empower veterans to pursue careers across STEM and computer science. Further, it requires the agency to update several existing scholarships, fellowships, grants and programs to enable veterans’ eligibility to participate.”
The Call to Action in this tight labor market is to look first to veterans when hiring experienced talent –it’s good sound business practice. At Sharp Decisions, we advocate for fair and equal employment, and we continuously deploy our trained veterans into meaningful work that builds on their experience. We support efforts like the one being considered in Washington to boost equal employment opportunities for skilled veterans. We all need to be a part of the mission!