No STEM-ing of growth for Aussie jobs

Young female looking through a micoscope

New research by the National Skills Commission shows STEM jobs are likely to offer long-term prospects.

This story was first published on Friday 18 December 2020. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

National Skills Commission analysis shows jobs in STEM are growing significantly faster than other jobs.

Employment security is highly sought after while on the job hunt and new analysis has found that pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a thriving job growth area and it is likely to offer long-term prospects including security and resilience.

The National Skills Commission (NSC) has found that 46.5% of STEM related occupations are considered to be resilient. This compares to 31.8% of employment in non-STEM occupations.

Occupational resilience is a new analysis that NSC is undertaking as part of the post COVID-19 recovery. It compares:

  • data on employment growth expectations before COVID-19
  • data relating to the employment experience of occupations during COVID-19
  • early indications of recovery to measure resilience and recovery.

The analysis shows that STEM occupations are well insulated to labour market shocks.

During the height of COVID-19 employment in STEM occupations fell by just 1.9%. This is less than a third of the 7.0% decrease experienced in non-STEM occupations.

Analysis suggests that this trend may continue.

National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton said, “the growth of STEM related skills is likely to provide a solid foundation for a successful career, with STEM occupations now sitting at 99.8% of their pre-COVID-19 levels.”

“The resilience of STEM occupations and the importance of these skills to the economy means there are likely to be better employment prospects in the short- to medium-term as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Mr Boyton.

NSC analysis also shows that STEM occupations have a higher skill level relative to all other jobs.

At August 2020, 75.0% (more than 2 million people) employed in STEM occupations worked in a job with a skill level equal to a bachelor’s degree or higher. Just 22.9% of people employed in non-STEM occupations require that skill level.

Mr Boyton encourages anyone planning their next career move to consider building skills in STEM and to carefully research what skills and qualifications would be required.

The full list of STEM occupations is available on the NSC’s Labour Market Information Portal.

Correct at time of publication.