Wanted: STEM Professionals

Employment & Industry Trends Mar 19, 2024 No Comments
image Pixabay

Forecasts show that STEM job opportunities will continue to grow by leaps and bounds over the next decade.

Professionals with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) backgrounds are in demand across many job sectors globally and have been increasingly so for several years, spurred on by fast-paced advances in science and technology; the growing need for vaccines and comprehensive healthcare; the design and building of complex infrastructure projects and much more. The job opportunities are broad and at all levels, encompassing those with college degrees and those without, with salaries that tend to be almost double those in non-STEM professions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of U.S. STEM jobs will have increased by 10.8 percent between 2021 and 2031, with positions in computing, engineering and advanced manufacturing leading the way.*

The global increase of STEM-related jobs outpaces other job sectors, and while this is exciting for those entering the job market, the current reality is a worldwide shortage of STEM professionals, with experts projecting millions of STEM jobs going unfilled over the next several years. The response to the growing skills gap is ongoing, with countries creating new initiatives to boost STEM education and draw young people to STEM careers. In the meantime, many countries are trying to attract and hold on to talent with big salaries, job flexibility and impressive benefits packages. Foreign professionals can also help fill the gaps some countries are experiencing.

Here is a snapshot of the STEM landscape in several major cities around the world:

Madrid, Spain

Engineers and architects play a critical role in shaping Madrid’s future, as Madrid is a world leader in cleantech and renewable energies. Logistics and aerospace activities also are among the most promising sectors in the area.

The significant increase in the demand for online shopping has made logistics positions associated with e-commerce activities particularly important. Demand for professionals with solid experience in logistics areas and online commerce engineering will increase by almost 20% in the next year, according to Hays Spain.

These are among today’s most sought-after engineering, logistics and construction roles by Spanish companies, according to Hays: Supply chain managers; residential construction site managers; land managers; production engineers; maintenance chiefs; quality engineers; R&D project engineers; and prevention and environment managers.

In health care and life sciences, Spain ranks fifth in Europe in volume of sales and job creation in the pharmaceutical industry. Around 80% of the world’s largest biomedical and pharmaceutical companies are in Madrid, and several multinationals like FAMAR, TEDEC-Meiji, Lilly, Pfizer and GSK have research facilities in the area.

These are today’s most in-demand jobs in the country’s life sciences sector, according to Hays: Marketing digital experts; data analysts; regulatory specialists; and QA (quality assurance) experts.

ICT activities are among the drivers of employment growth in the capital. Software development experts remain among the specializations with the best chance of finding new jobs today.

Paris, France

The region is a major aeronautics hub. The Centre National d’Études Spatiales (the National Center for Space Studies) is located here. Along with the Occitanie-Pyrénées-Méditerannée region, Paris provides the strongest concentration of aeronautic job opportunities in the country. Companies operating in the area include Airbus, Air France, Dassault, Safran and Thales.

Airbus, in collaboration with transport operator RATP, is developing flying taxis and a public transportation network for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The company is recruiting field support, software engineers, information systems security and aerodynamic engineers.

Engineering has traditionally been a highly prestigious career track in France, with about 240 selective engineering schools (Grandes Écoles d’Ingénieur) attracting top students. Engineering and manufacturing companies are hiring. Engineers and supply chain professionals are especially sought after.

Recruiters are seeking well-educated, high-level engineers. Science and engineering talents will experience the highest increase in employment through 2030 according to the European Union’s CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training).

Companies report a shortage of R&D engineers. Profiles in demand include engineers and executives, R&D professionals, construction engineers, site supervisors, and manufacturing and quality control engineers.

Dubai, U.A.E

Dubai is often described as the city of cranes, as its construction sector is constantly active. With Abu Dhabi, the city dominates the country’s residential construction market. Innovative solutions such as AR, drones used in construction, video capturing and 3D printing are in high demand among local developers who are keen to use technology in the development of new projects.

The UAE is the first country in the world to have created a Ministry for Artificial Intelligence, with the aim to go beyond the national ambition of full digitalization after the Smart Government project. This new ministry, which is part of the national Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Centennial 2070 objectives, reflects the solid governmental efforts to increase economic opportunities through ICT in the country. By 2031 the UAE aims at becoming one of the leading AI countries in the world. By 2030, it is estimated that about 14% of its GDP will come from artificial intelligence. In addition, the number of tech start-ups in the country and in Dubai is booming.

Employment opportunities for ICT experts remain promising in the future, with plenty of opportunities for digital professionals, especially web designers and software developers.

Johannesburg, South Africa

The country is suffering from an engineering shortage, as there are not enough professionals to meet demand. In fact, engineering and engineering technician occupations dominate the government’s list of positions South African employers are having the most difficulty filling.

The following occupations appear on the latest version of the Critical Skills List: Manufacturing operations manager; mechatronics technician; engineering manager; construction project manager; materials scientist; industrial engineer/engineering technologist; civil engineer/engineering technologist; mechanical engineer/ engineering technologist; aeronautical engineer/engineering technologist and architect.

The Johannesburg region holds many opportunities for engineers. Key segments include auto manufacturing, capital equipment, food and beverage, and ICT.

In addition, the government made infrastructure updates a priority and recently allocated 500 billion ZAR over the next three years for upgrades. Planned projects include irrigation systems, affordable and student housing, electricity distribution networks, sanitation, civil construction and improved transportation links. One of the operational challenges the government faces in proceeding with these projects is a lack of skilled engineers.

New York, New York

Among the 20 fastest-growing jobs in the state, 13 are health care-related positions, according to the New York State Department of Labor. In recent years, home health care services have been a major source of growth in the health care sector.

The pandemic accelerated the need for the city to bolster the health care industry by recruiting more workers, investing in health care technologies, and building more patient care centers. Spending on construction in the health care sector is predicted to increase by 38% in the next three years, according to an analysis by The Conference Board.

The information technology sector is currently responsible for 296,500 jobs, representing an increase of 7.5% over the last year. Even before the pandemic, the sector was showing robust job growth, and should be in a position to rebound as more people work from home. Many of the recent job gains were in software publishing, data processing, internet publishing, web portals and computer system design, according to a report from the state controller’s office. Over the past decade, the local tech sector grew by 80%, and the city’s tech ecosystem now has more than 9,000 start-up companies.

Washington D.C.

Construction activity usually means job opportunities for engineers and architects, and Washington, D.C., has seen a flood of developments in recent years that continue to reshape the area. Construction was declared an essential activity during the pandemic, and there are six projects totaling 287 million USD that are currently in progress, according to a report from DowntownDC.

More than 62,900 people work in engineering and architecture occupations in Washington, DC, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Engineering occupations expected to see the most growth by 2028 include industrial engineers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers and environmental engineers.

Health care is one of the area’s hottest industries, with more positions available in the area than there are qualified people to fill them. There is an especially great demand through 2028 for home health aides; personal care aides; physical therapist aides; medical assistants; nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Washington’s tech sector is in desperate need of good talent. One-third of the nation’s digital workforce works in the region. According to CRBE’s Tech-30 Report, which ranked D.C. third as a top market for tech talent and investment, the area has seen a 10% increase in tech jobs in recent years, compared to the national growth rate of 5.5%.

However, more tech jobs are on the horizon. Amazon recently chose Northern Virginia as the home for its second headquarters, which will bring 25,000 tech jobs to the area. Yext, a tech company providing online brand management, also has plans to bring 500 new jobs to a new DC office.

Washington is also one of the top cities for women in tech jobs, according to SmartAsset. Women hold approximately 39% of tech jobs in the area, and women’s pay is nearly equivalent to men’s in local tech industries, compared to other cities where women earn only 80% of men’s pay on average.

Employment projections for the area’s information sector are promising in the coming years. By 2028, the sector is expected to grow by more than 8,000 workers, or 16.7%. Jobs in software publishing are expected to increase by more than 34%, but jobs in broadcasting services are expected to wane.


According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) in the U.S., “Individuals in the STEM workforce make important contributions to improving a nation’s living standards, economic growth and global competitiveness. They fuel a nation’s innovative capacity through their work in research and development (R&D) and in other technologically advanced activities.” In a world that is innovating faster than ever before, those with the knowledge and skills to handle the work necessary to advance us even further will never be without a job. The challenge is to educate enough of the workforce to fill the job openings now and in the future.

* Explore employment outlooks by sector in GoinGlobal’s 120+ Country and Global City Career Guides.

Access to GoinGlobal’s resource database is provided through subscribing institutions. Contact your college/university’s career center or library for access instructions.

Mary Anne Thompson

Mary Anne Thompson founded GoinGlobal, Inc. more than two decades ago as a result of her own experiences job hunting in Sweden. She believes that to uncover the real job opportunities, you need the experience and personal insights of trained local specialists. Mary Anne continues to be an active CEO who shares her strategies and insights directly with clients to help them strategically maximize GoinGlobal’s unique resources.