In the fourth part of the New Normal series of discussion papers Working Futures(tm) has released: Widening the talent pipeline: Facilitating STEM careers in New-Collar jobs in Australia. Written by Dr Marcus Bowles and Stephen Chey, Security Client Executive at IBM, the supply and demand mismatch in emerging digital jobs is highlighted. Through an investigation of data science and cybersecurity jobs the authors illustrate just how severe the mismatch is between efforts to supply graduates ready to work in new-collar jobs, and the demand being predicted by employers.
To resolve this problem, the discussion paper argues for advancing educational solutions beyond traditional 3 or 4 year STEM degree courses that unnecessarily delay the delivery of the talent required to drive economic growth and fail to stimulate the cross-disciplinary study or human capabilities required in future work. The paper proposes that supply-side solutions from educators and government must be complemented by employers’ efforts to create entry-level jobs and hire candidates for their capabilities rather than for their technical qualifications. To illustrate this point, the paper advances models that are effective in ensuring STEM professionals are able to earn while they learn. Through a combination of formal learning, experience, and credentials that stack into formal qualifications, the talent pipeline can open up STEM careers to a broader range of candidates and strengthen the supply of human capital required by businesses to transform our economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.