Research the value of STEM graduates in Canada, and advertise nationally the results of that research in simple terms.

Question:How can we increase demand for science, technology, engineering and math graduates?
on 08/05/2016

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I've written in the past that companies need to have their own competence. I'm convinced there are concrete returns on having trained, experienced people on staff who can help solve problems and come up with innovative new solutions. Anecdotally, I've seen where a technologist, engineer, scientist, or mathematician can provide value far greater than their annual cost in a matter of minutes.

We need to convince Canadian industry of that value.

I think we can do this in 5 steps:

1. Fund impartial research into the return on investment for STEM graduates in a variety of industries. Look at the value of employees vs. using outside contractors.

2. Once the research inevitably shows the value of such employees, hire an experienced advertising company to come up with a number of television, radio, and print advertisements. You want to catch decision-makers while they're not at work, and you want to target them with a message that gets the point across without putting them into 'business mode'. Besides practical benefits, emotional benefits of having qualified people to help would be good to sell too. Point to the bank created in the next step. Air the ads nationally.

3. Create a 'national STEM bank' where confirmed STEM professionals can post details about their careers online. Something like "Canadian linkedin for nerds". The more you can focus on the social part, the better. Providing value to STEM professionals, such as making it a national hub for continuous professional development opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and events of interest to STEM professionals would be excellent. Getting in touch with companies or organizations that do stuff like that in each region would be win-win. Then provide access to Canadian employers to the bank. Get professional organizations like oacett and peo involved, as well as community colleges.

4. Incentivize STEM professionals to publish articles in trade journals and the like, and employers of STEM professionals to allow them to. Whether it's tax breaks, or some other incentive, lots of good work is hiding behind a curtain -- and often it's not intended to be proprietary research. Promote Canadian STEM professionals using their professional post-nominal titles when publishing.

5. If step 4 successfully gets more Canadian STEM articles written, modify the national ad campaign to share success stories of Canadian STEM professionals, focusing on the prestige of companies that invested in Canadian STEM professionals, and the benefits those companies reaped.

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