Partner With a Staffing Company to Source STEM Talent

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It is becoming increasingly clear to employers across the United States that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs take more than twice as long to fill as other openings. With STEM jobs increasing consistently, outpacing every other industry for job demand, employers are finding it more challenging than ever before to hire talented candidates with STEM backgrounds.

With the skills gap only widening as employers continue to demand more STEM backgrounds, many companies find themselves without options for hiring because there likely won’t be a significant increase in STEM backgrounds until today’s younger students have graduated and enter the workforce in the coming years. Even then, it is still expected that the STEM demand will continue to rise alongside advances in technology. In 2013 alone, 43.2 percent of job openings in the region required STEM skills.

What can employers do to find qualified STEM backgrounds?

Because the skills gap prevents a proliferated network from forming organically, employers will have to begin turning to pre-formed candidate networks and staffing firms. Many employers today understand that hiring for a STEM position is often a drawn-out wait; and when a strong candidate is discovered, it becomes highly competitive to hire the individual, as they likely have numerous options. Working with a staffing agency is not only the best way to dramatically decrease the wait for STEM talent, but to ensure that a smooth hiring process takes place with full transparency.

Staffing agencies have begun to proactively address the STEM gap by building out one of the largest networks for this skill set in the country. In 2013, Adecco placed over 13,000 STEM candidates in new positions. When deciding what staffing agency to use, employers should request information about previous STEM placements such as this in order to gauge the strength and reach of their STEM network.

Where should you look?

Employers who hope to work with a staffing agency should also look for certain resources to aid their STEM hiring process.

  • First, find an agency that works closely with different higher education institutions. STEM backgrounds from higher-ed institutions are generally in even higher demand, and agencies that work closely with these institutions are the first to work with this type of talent.
  • Second, find an agency that stays on top of today’s markets by working with candidates who are already hired; agencies that maintain these relationships and continue building out strong communities rather than losing touch with STEM backgrounds are more likely to have a robust – and talented – pool of candidates.
  • Finally, seek out a staffing agency that can offer guidance even after a STEM candidate is hired on. Agencies who are available to help their placements develop professionally are far more likely to offer employees worthy of a long-term investment.

There’s no question that STEM jobs are plentiful – over 3.3 million STEM jobs at more than 50,000 companies nationwide were available last year. The real issue is hiring for STEM jobs, in both the drawn-out hiring timeframes and the availability of talent. The issue will continue to persist unless employers begin to seek out concentrated communities or STEM networks, going through a professional service that also offers transparent processes.

The technology landscape is always changing, always moving. Find out what kinds of technology skills you need on your team, how to attract these professionals, and what to pay them in our new “Build a top tech team” interactive clickographic.

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About Claire Topalian

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.

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