Top Careers for Non-STEM Graduates and Professionals
In many countries, especially like India, students and parents are focused on either becoming an engineer or a doctor. Millions of students think they have no future and no way to be successful if they do not study engineering, medicine or science. Definitely, these are amazing opportunities and careers for students and professionals who have interest in these areas, but if you are not one of the students who want to do something else, it is not the end of the world. You can still study in your area of interest and be successful in your professional careers and have enough options and opportunities for a job.
STEM graduates do earn more salaries on average. But, a STEM degree does not guarantee career success. Research has shown that:
36% of STEM students are not able to secure roles
31% of STEM students are choosing other careers
29% of STEM students stated there were not enough opportunities
4% of STEM students stated salary was the main factor for not choosing STEM careers
50% of STEM graduates are working in non-STEM roles
Here are a few careers and jobs you can pursue without becoming an engineer, doctor or scientist. All these careers have enough jobs, opportunities and a path to do well in life.
Top Careers for Non-STEM Graduates
- Sales, Business Development and Client Management: Every company in the business of selling goods and services requires a sales and business development team. Without sales, there is no business. Unless it is a highly technical product, most of the companies require salespeople who can work with prospective customers and convert them into paid customers. Sales professional is all about relationship management, being comfortable with risk taking, being comfortable around people and ability to connect with people, understand their needs and help solve it. This career path does not require any technical skills other than communication, ability to connect and ability to drive results.
- Customer Service and Support (including Healthcare services): Just like sales and business development team, every organization needs teams to support services and taking care of existing customers. Good customer service is critical for a successful business, including healthcare services, hospitality etc. Similar to sales and business development, this profession does not require any particular technical skills but more of communication skills and ability to address customer concerns and take care of them, especially at the time of the problem. Many senior executives, especially in services organization, come from the customer service side.
- Operations, including Supply Chain & Procurement: Every company producing and selling products need large operations teams, including supply chain, logistics and procurement professionals. If you are someone who likes tinkering with stuff, building stuff and working with vendors and partners in building stuff, this may be a career for you. Just look at the background of current Apple CEO, Tim Cook, who was previously the COO and has a strong understanding of the company’s supply chain. This profession is becoming a lot more important with global supply chains and is critical for every product company’s success. The professionals in these areas can be engineers, can be technical graduates, MBA or liberal arts, commerce graduates.
- Marketing & PR: Similar to other careers discussed above, this profession does not require a STEM degree. For a successful career in marketing, you need to be comfortable with the creative side and should have an eye for customers and how to understand them and engage them. Now with the growth of digital marketing, some of the jobs do require professionals in this area to be comfortable with data, analytics, and digital channels. But one does not need to study STEM to apply and pursue a career in Marketing and PR.
- Teacher and counselor: This is a fulfilling profession for anyone who likes to work with children, students and individuals in helping them learn, grow and develop. The world will always need teachers, counselors, guides, and mentors. This may not be the most highly paid career option but can be a fulfilling career for many students and young professionals.
In summary, if you are not a STEM student or graduate, you still have a number of options to do well, enjoy and create a successful path for yourself.
Author: Ajay Singh
Ajay is the co-founder of Stoodnt and spent 20+ years in senior leadership roles with companies such as American Express, Cendant and Intel prior to starting Stoodnt. He has a M.B.A. from Harvard, M.S. in Computer Engineering from U.T. Austin and B.Tech from I.I.T Roorkee (India).
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