Choosing education and employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is likely to offer strong, long-term security and resilience.

New analysis by the National Skills Commission (NSC) shows that of all 358 occupations, 92 occupations are STEM-related, and of these 92 occupations, a total of 46.5% were considered to be resilient. This is compared to 31.8% of employment in non-STEM occupations.

This resilience, measured by comparing data on employment growth expectations before COVID-19, with data relating to the employment experience of occupations during COVID-19, and early indications of recovery to measure resilience and recovery, shows that STEM occupations are well insulated to labour market shocks.

During the height of COVID-19, when economic activity was restricted from February to May 2020, employment in STEM occupations fell by just 1.9%. This is less than a third of the 7.0% decrease experienced in employment in non-STEM occupations.

Looking forward, 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.

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

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

Given the recent and projected future employment growth of STEM occupations, Mr Boyton encouraged 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.