Workplace demographics are changing fast, and STEM companies need to keep up. Diversifying your talent pool and your workforce is no longer optional for STEM organisations.
Amazon’s recent decision to retrain a third of its workforce is big news. At a cost of around $700 million, their announcement has made many in STEM industries sit up at take note. If Amazon, frequently a front-runner in employment innovation, is acting now to ensure its talent doesn’t dry up in the coming years, what should the rest of the STEM industry be doing?
Change is happening now
From data Amazon published as a rationale behind the move, one of the most striking changes it has identified is just how many jobs now require STEM skills. From marketing and customer service to fulfilment and distribution, there’s almost no job roles left which don’t involve some level of STEM knowledge and skill base. Language engineers, for example, have experienced a 2350% rise in demand since 2014, and that’s at Amazon alone.
it almost goes without saying that the technology-focused roles most in demand are ones that didn’t exist even 5-10 years ago. The pace of change is rapid, and every scientist, engineer, analyst and technologist will be affected by either changes to their role or a struggle to hire more of them. It’s clear that while these revelations might be most pertinent for STEM companies now, every industry will be faced with this kind of disruption very soon.
The good news for STEM
It might seem tempting to start snapping up as many in-demand roles as possible in light of these changes, but for now the good news is that there’s no need to panic. Automation may mean that there’s less need to focus on some job roles in future, but an emerging trend is that of the co-bot. Co-bots are ‘collaborative robots’ which work alongside humans to assist performance – the goal being to improve, not replace human endeavours.
Many STEM companies already have automation in place, or are part of producing the technology required to make such a change possible. Furthermore, the talent being retrained in STEM skills by companies such as Amazon broadens the talent pool significantly. Finally it seems that talent-poaching from competitors will no longer be necessary, as the talent pool will range across sectors previously dismissed; retail, logistics, supply chain… people with a diverse skill set and a broad range of experience will soon have the knowledge and training required to enter STEM industries, and the ideas they bring with them may lead to a flurry of innovation in the coming years. The possibilities are exciting, and STEM is set to benefit greatly from this turning tide.