The 10 Skills Companies Look for in Recent STEM Graduates

Can you work well in a collaborative environment, and communicate effectively? These are the most important attributes employers are looking for in recent graduates.

In 2014 the Office of the Chief Scientist commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to undertake research into the demand for STEM skills within the Australian workplace. In response, an extensive research project was developed, which included literature review, consultations, focus groups and an employer survey. From the investigation 82% of survey respondents confirmation that STEM graduates are in demand in Australian workplaces and in fact, 71% agreed that their STEM staff are among their most innovative. The really exciting thing is, the respondents of these surveys represented some serious corporate players, both locally and internationally; 3M, ATSA Defence Systems, BHP Billiton, ANSTO, CSIRO, ResMed, HP, Lockheed Martin, and IBM, were just to name a few.

Here are the 10 skills these employers recognised as important, in order of importance:
  1. Interpersonal skills
  2. Level of qualification (e.g. Certificate IV, Bachelors, Masters)
  3. Occupation-specific STEM qualification
  4. Work experience in relevant industry
  5. Understanding how the company does business
  6. Academic results
  7. Paid work experience
  8. Work experience of a period longer than 12 weeks
  9. Specific subject selection as part of education qualification
  10. Work experience in any industry

Regardless of what you’re studying, you’re already equipped with the top required skill: Interpersonal skills. The trick is to demonstrate that you have the ability to work within a team, to engage with non-technical people and to translate information effectively. Use examples where you were a team leader, ran a project for your school, coordinated the fundraiser or even worked as a barista, but ensure that you frame these examples to highlight your interpersonal skills in your cover letter, resume and interview.

The research undertaken clearly outlines that Companies recognise the benefit of employing STEM staff however to be chosen you need to clearly and concisely communicate your interpersonal skills.

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