Commentary by Marivi Stuchinsky, Chief Technology Officer, Farmers Insurance

If you've been reading much education or business news, you probably know there's a lot of buzz around STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and degrees these days. But if you aren't running a science or engineering focused business, you might be asking yourself, why would this be beneficial to me?

Here's why. As a business owner, you may have unique human resource needs. It's important to think about staffing your business not only for today's needs, but for three, five or even 10 years down the road. To do this, you may want to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology, customer experience analytics, logistics and even data.

It is important to start filling your business with people who can help you navigate your company's future. The technologies that you use today to manage customer orders, help protect your business from fraud and even solve complex business issues are ever-changing. Having someone with a STEM background in-house can help you meet new challenges, as well as attract top talent. But what does it mean to have a STEM degree? And what kinds of talent should you be looking for your business?

  1. A STEM degree can be valuable to virtually any industry. For example, an engineering degree allowed me to succeed in fields as diverse as entertainment, healthcare and insurance. And 74 percent of STEM college graduates are going into non-STEM jobs, according to the Census Bureau. They are perusing careers in everything from healthcare and law to education and social work.
  2. STEM graduates make great problem solvers. Graduates with a STEM education are trained to problem solve with rigor and logic - skills that can be applied to life and a wide variety of opportunities. Job candidates with this academic background can take on the quantitative modeling and problem-solving mindset that many employers need. In engineering, you're constantly asked to analyze business issues and develop solutions that enhance revenue and increase customer satisfaction.
  3. STEM degrees tend to attract those with a can-do leadership style. We engineers can be highly opinionated and strong-willed people, but we know the importance of supporting our opinions with data. Because of the self-assurance and credibility that comes with having a STEM degree, graduates tend to be able to minimize confrontations and succeed as more collaborative leaders. A confident leadership style combined with exceptional problem-solving skills generally makes for an invaluable employee.
  4. Recruiting STEM graduates can help boost diversity. Interest in STEM degrees is growing exponentially from year to year - meaning there is a deep pool of candidates to grab from. With the increase in STEM classes in high schools and colleges, that number will only keep climbing. Additionally, STEM students not only can offer diversity of age, gender, and race. They also can bring diversity of thought and personality since they've been encouraged to explore all options and even to fail. This encouragement to fail and try again can be exceedingly valuable in business because the most creative solutions are often sparked by learning from past failures.

No matter what business you're in, science, technology, engineering and math graduates can be excellent candidates to consider when you're ready to hire. What's the best way to do this? Look to partner with local schools, colleges and STEM education organizations to build a pipeline of candidates. This type of partnership can help you promote your business while you're exploring a powerhouse of diverse, problem-solving STEM graduates.

Published on: Mar 15, 2017