Studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) opens up a world of exciting opportunities beyond just science and engineering


The UK engineering sector has an £800 billion turnover and employs around 1.7 million people. People who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) generally earn the highest starting salaries of all graduates. Average earnings for technicians are £27,000 a year, physical scientists earn on average £49,000.

Biomedical sciences, genetic engineering and the exploration of renewable energy sources are significant growth areas in the UK. but just one in six 16-18 year olds take science A-Level and fewer people are studying computing, down 50% since 2003.

The science industry covers chemicals, pharmaceuticals, bioscience, oil and gas, nuclear and more. It employs 900,000 employees in 23,000 organisations. There is high demand for technical skills, researchers and plant operatives. The industry is crying out for pharmacology, physiology, biotechnology, drug metabolism, toxicology and pathology skills.

STEM also leads into engineering, which has an ageing workforce. It needs over 230,000 people to take over from retirees and employers are particularly looking for people who can operate Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Engineering software.

The wind industry needs electrical engineers, turbine technicians, geologists and business managers. Incredibly, 70% of the nuclear industry’s workforce is expected to retire by 2025 and will need replacing.

We expect there to be around 40,000 vacancies for STEM-trained technicians over the next three years. The IT and telecoms industry needs to recruit 180,000 people every year just to stand still.

London is a hub for STEM jobs. In a given month, there were 78,400 vacancies in internet services, over 550 for engineering services and a further 520 for computer software. There is a local market too. In November 2012 there were 11 engineering technicians, an electronics engineer and three civil engineers’ vacancies in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.