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Has your mind been blown this week by the release of the James Webb Telescope’s (JWT) ground-breaking new images of the universe? We have been in awe of them.

With so much bad news around, it’s uplifting to hear about achievements in science and technology. The innovative JWT is the most ambitious telescope ever invented. It was an international collaboration between NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency. This week its first incredible images of space were launched by Joe Biden. 

Read more about them and see the breathtaking images here.

Will these exciting advancements in technology and space exploration inspire the next generation? It would seem that the trend is heading in this direction.

The rapid growth of STEM jobs

Recent analysis from the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business indicates that the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are growing almost twice as fast as other jobs. The data indicated that between November 2014 and November 2019, employment in STEM occupations grew by 19.7%, which is 1.9 times higher than the growth rate for other occupations.

This growth is expected to continue. Over the five years to May 2024, the Department projects STEM occupations will grow by 11.6% (303,200 people), whereas all other jobs are projected to grow at 7.5% (771,800 people) over the same period.

However, findings from the Department’s Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences show that a majority of employers (56%) have difficulty recruiting for STEM occupations, compared to 41% for all other jobs. 

The main reason given was that applicants often lack the technical skills or qualifications required for the job.

Building a successful STEM career

There’s no doubt that there will continue to be numerous opportunities in the growing and innovative STEM sector. However, applicants must be mindful that there are more likely to be specific requirements for technical qualifications than in other career paths, such as sales and marketing. 

Students seeking a career in this area (as well as those already working in the field) need to be mindful of this and consider the outcomes for the particular skills and qualifications they acquire. Being informed about probable career pathways afforded to specific skills and qualifications is an important component for building a prosperous career.