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Tackling the shortage of STEM skills – is early intervention the solution?


Updated: 16 May 2016

Could earlier engagement with school children help bridge the talent gap that science, technology, engineering and mathematics-reliant industries face? According to recruiting experts Hays, that’s one potential solution to a skill shortage that will only intensify in the years ahead.

According to Hays, advances in technology continue to evolve at a rate of knots, but businesses that need staff with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are struggling to find the people they so desperately need.

“Not only are we seeing demand for these professionals increase across the globe but a high number of STEM workers are reaching retirement age, adding further pressure to an already skill-short area,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

“We must find a solution, one that involves businesses, governments, educational institutes and parents working together.”

According to Christine, intervention at an earlier age could solve the issue. “If children were made aware of STEM careers and STEM related learning experiences were implemented earlier, it could inspire an interest in those subjects and ultimately, careers,” she said. “Engaging children at secondary school is too late. At this age children are already choosing elective subjects and their opinions have already begun to be formed.

“But if STEM subjects could inspire children early on, they would learn that these subjects actually encompass a lot of modern and exciting technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and software engineering.

“Not only do children need to be educated on what jobs can result from STEM subjects, parents do too. Engineering is such a broad term. Children, parents and teachers should be told about the various aspects and job types so that there’s a coordinated response to the STEM skill shortage.”

This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment.

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Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06, 66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

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For further information please contact Esabella Yeung, Marketing Executive SEA, Asia at Hays, on +65 6424 0158 or

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