U.S. employers face difficulty finding STEM workers -study

WASHINGTON, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 12:01am EDT

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WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) - U.S. companies are finding it difficult to find skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math, and need to advertise longer to fill positions in so-called STEM fields, a study released on Tuesday found.

STEM jobs that require a doctoral degree are advertised an average of 50 days, compared with 33 days for non-STEM jobs, according to the Brookings Institution. STEM jobs requiring a master's degree take an average of 21 days to fill, compared with 11 days for non-STEM jobs, while for bachelors and associates degrees the difference is five and seven days.

"Hiring difficulty is a serious problem for many employers seeking workers with STEM skills," Jonathan Rothwell, an associate fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, said in a statement.

The study looked at a database of 3.3 million advertisements across 52,000 companies in 2013 to determine how long jobs in various occupations were vacant. It found that the more skills and education required, and the higher the pay, the longer the job was advertised. Occupations requiring computer skills were advertised the longest, for an average of 40 to 71 days.

The regional unemployment rate has an impact on the duration of advertisements, the study found. Job openings in areas with an unemployment rate below 3 percent were advertised for 16 days and were often for STEM occupations, while jobs in areas with an unemployment rate of 10 percent or more were displayed for seven days. (Reporting by Moriah Costa; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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