Four Ways to Attract STEM Candidates

08.15.2018 / Zachery Tweddell

Director, Marketing & Innovation

Four ways to attract STEM candidates

Before we dive into exactly how we recommend positioning your brand to STEM candidates, let’s first understand the challenges that exist for employers.

Why are STEM candidates so hard to find and engage?


The growth of STEM has contributed to a plethora of problems for employers, making it more difficult to find, attract, and engage STEM candidates. The sector is growing more rapidly than any other occupational group. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM employment is projected to grow by 8.9% annually through 2024.

This statistic attests to the burgeoning need for STEM talent, and consequently, the shortage of candidates. In 2016, for example, 13 STEM jobs were “posted online for every unemployed worker that year” – or, in other words, there were 3 million more jobs available than qualified STEM professionals. As a result, wages for STEM employees are increasing. Software developers, for instance, saw a 26% increase in their salary from 2000 to 2013.

Simply put, the number of STEM jobs is outpacing the number of viable STEM candidates, which, in turn, has led to increased wages. This means that if it’s not in your budget, it will be challenging to attract and engage STEM graduates – they can merely pick the next highest bidder or look to take another path. In fact, according to Anil Niraula of RealClear Education, three-fourths of all STEM graduates with bachelor’s degrees end up working in non-STEM occupations.

Now, if you’re looking to increase diversity by the way of STEM candidates, your job has gotten even more difficult. In most STEM clusters, including engineering and physical science, women, Blacks, and Hispanics are underrepresented. Female representation in life and physical sciences has grown since 1990 but has declined in the fastest-growing cluster, computer science.

While the need for STEM employees increases, the need for diversity in STEM is even more urgent.

What can you do to find STEM candidates and make your brand more appealing?


Above all, STEM candidates are looking for growth, innovative work, the ability to make an impact, and opportunities for rapid professional development.

They are also pining for more affordable places to live and work. The growth of STEM opportunities in Silicon Valley is declining simply because of unaffordability. There, a person must make at least $200,000 annually to afford a median-priced house – an unachievable goal for most. Now, STEM candidates are flocking to cities like Orlando, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Miami, Raleigh, and Las Vegas for more sustainable opportunities.

Now, let’s get to some recommendations. Here are four things you can do to improve your ability to hire STEM talent:

  1. Expand your talent pool. Not only is it important to build a more diverse workforce, but also explore alternate marketing channels to engage those currently looking elsewhere.
  2. Emphasize purpose, not profit. This shows candidates that they will be making an impact, not just generating money.
  3. Demonstrate that there is room for professional growth and exploration through education programs and a culture rooted in discovery.
  4. Even if your brand is larger than most, try to create a culture that has a smaller feel – ensure that employees are valued on a personal level and that teams exude a sense of family.


For more info, or if you have any questions on how to implement the strategies listed above, please reach out!