Demanding and exciting future

Friday, July 14, 2023

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are expected to grow by 10.8% by 2031, more than double the projected growth rate of non-STEM fields, projected at 4.9% in the same period. Oh, and the “median annual wages for STEM occupations as of May 2021 were $95,420, compared to $40,120 for non-STEM occupations.” So, the demand for a STEM-educated workforce will continue to grow and, per the supply and demand principle, the starting and mid-career wages will climb accordingly. In fact, in the semiconductor industry, for example, one high-tech company alone is forecasting the need for 250,000 employees, including 50,000 engineers, in the next five years.

To offer an indication of this incredible growth in demand for STEM workers, here at S&T, our Fall 2022 Career Fair broke all records, with 427 employers attending in person to hire our graduates. This beat the previous record by nearly 100 companies. Last year at this time, 158 companies or organizations were signed up to recruit our graduates. This year, we already have 242 signed up!

Many of the top employers of our graduates are household names: Boeing, Accenture, Garmin, Microsoft and Honeywell, just to name a few. But our graduates and students are in high demand by start-ups and other firms as well. Last year, SmartAsset ranked S&T graduates as having the highest average starting salaries in the state, at $72,600. The latest outcomes report from our Career Opportunities and Employer Relations (COER) office highlights additional indicative employment and salary information in support of the remarkable demand for the STEM workforce. This fall’s Career Fair is shaping up to be another record-breaker, highlighting the bright future of STEM-based careers.

Based on every measure, the outlook for many engineering careers is positive, and jobs in sustainability fields are also poised for significant growth. These include biochemists and biophysicists, conservation scientists, environmental engineers and scientists, geoscientists, materials scientists, and microbiologists. Interestingly, but not unexpectedly, the occupations projected to grow even more rapidly include data scientists, information security analysts, mathematicians and statisticians, software developers, epidemiologists, and computer and information research scientists.

Contemplating broader future opportunities based on STEM fields leads one to exciting areas of confluence of two or more disciplines such as the intersection of physical sciences and engineering and life sciences and medicine; engineering of alternative energy resources and technologies; alternatives to rare earth materials; alternative solutions to transportation, computation and communication (think photonics); and new approaches to agricultural practices to ensure sufficiency of food for the growing world population.

If we pause and contemplate just how far we’ve come in advancing our world and enhancing our lives through science and technology, we see clearly the exciting opportunities ahead. To be sure, at times, elements of technology will become scary (think AI) and the road ahead will be ambiguous, but how much more capable will we become if we prepare ourselves and bravely welcome the demanding and exciting future?


-Mo.Share your thoughts!

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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116

206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910