As someone who works in Tech I am very accustomed to hearing the hiring manager battle cry, "We can't find great candidates!"
I'm normally brought in as an outside opinion to the currently established processes and workload. The thing that surprises me the most of what I see:
Companies do not put a high enough value on their creators. The ones with the STEM degrees making you products or services to sell.
It breaks down to a simple dichotomy that has existed since the dawn of the sale, one person is better at making something, the other better at getting someone to buy it. I even saw an Influencer post on LinkedIn by a Sales person, sighting how he can't code but you can't sell. Last I heard companies aren't screaming for sales people. Companies aren't asking for more H1B visas from the government to cover Sales roles.
This problem with a perceived lack of STEM candidates branches to the point of education, asking, "How do we get and keep people in these academic disciplines?" Let's take a look at this issue from this angle for a moment.
The last statistics I could find were from 2010. It showed that for every 1 STEM graduate, there are 5 Business Administration degrees. What does that mean? It means the movie Office Space was dead on. For every 1 Engineer, they will have 3 to 5 managers or bosses above them. It is possible that some of the BA degrees will end up in more support type positions. Other than having started their own business, how many companies hire CEOs without a Business degree of some type? I looked for a couple hours, but I couldn't find one. If you know of one, please comment below and I'll update.
Who, in the company makes the most, the CEO, the upper management levels. The likelihood that a STEM graduate will make this level, not very. Being STEM, you understand the basic logic involved, "if you go manager or business, you can potentially make more than you will making stuff for them to sell."
Simply put, unless someone loves the discipline of study in their respective STEM area, they are more likely to focus on a business position. It can and normally does pay better. To encourage the youth to move towards the STEM area and stay there, you need to pay them, show them the value they actually do have to you, the business. We have geared people to understand your salary is your represented value to the company on the whole. There will always be some form of personal gratitude from managers and others with which you work, but the Company expresses its value in you via your salary. Where in the company are the highest salaries? With your creators, or with your Business Operations?
As you can see, I don't sight any government program or involvement. I don't believe the issue lies with them. They don't decide what someone gets paid by a private company. From conversations I've had with candidates, the government pays a lot better than most private companies. Usually, I couldn't touch their salaries or come close enough to get them interested. Which brings me around to my next run of thought on this issue. The hiring of these individuals by companies. Again, you probably just don't pay enough.
I cannot tell you how many times over the years I have found the manaer the EXACT candidate they need, or told me they want. Then upon the offer stage, the candidate wants too high a salary. But I thought you need this person. Which they do, just not for that much. It doesn't matter that this candidate can make whatever you need. Can code it out in multiple languages on multiple platforms and all in Notepad++. They want $20K a year more than we want to pay, next!
It is an odd instance for me you see, being told, "I want the BEST of the BEST." When handed to them, they don’t want to pay what, "the BEST of the BEST" requires. They can't budge from the company ordained rates for the levels assigned. Many want the Best of the Best, for the "Best" rate. That's just business. Works well with products and sales not always great for people.
Even more interesting, if you were to take a look across a few large companies you may find they all have similar employment standard systems. In the processes and outlines of pay scales. There are a few reasons for this, one is the bench marking against other company’s salaries. This will only shake down to you being "just as good" a paying employer as any other employer. Another reason is that many of these systems were established by some of the same people or people who all network with each other from an industry sense. This is very common and does tend to lead to a unintentional group think across different companies bleeding its way into internal policy. One might even say an unintentional salary fixing. I assure you it's not intentional, but sometimes that's what happens with people.
I'm not down playing the role of the Business individual here. I am pointing to the fact that, it is not equal. If a Business Developer gets more business normally they will get paid better. If you believe during the offer process that they can make you more money, you are more likely to comply with a higher salary request. Not so with the developer who is putting their love of code and problem solving into your venture. They take it on as their venture as well, don't they deserve a similar compensation to someone who can sell 100K more units, if they are part of creating the units for sale?
I do wonder sometimes if there is a simpler solution. Companies have recruiters to negotiate on their behalf. Maybe it's time STEM candidates have Agents to work for them on their behalf?
Strive to pay better, strive to be better.