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Entrepreneurs, economic experts, public officials, and many more tout the benefits of innovation in the modern economy. Innovation can drive economic growth by creating new jobs or industries, improving efficiency and productivity, and raising quality of life. Some economists have calculated that innovation contributes approximately 50% of annual U.S. GDP growth.
Jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are most commonly thought of as quintessentially innovative fields. And it is true that new inventions, technologies, and scientific discoveries have rapidly reshaped society and the economy since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
But in reality, innovation is not limited to STEM professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ O*NET database defines innovative jobs as those requiring creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. And under this definition, innovative jobs are found in a wide range of disciplines beyond STEM fields, from the arts to education to entertainment.
In fact, many of the most innovative jobs according to O*NET are found in the arts, including highly creative jobs like choreographers, poets/lyricists, and writers/authors. Innovative jobs also include STEM fields like mechanical engineering and biochemistry & biophysics, along with positions that bridge technology and the arts, like video game design. At the other end of the spectrum, the jobs that O*NET considers less innovative include positions that are primarily manual labor, like agricultural graders & sorters or cutters & trimmers, or service jobs, like hosts & hostesses or parking attendants.