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About the Monitor

The STEM Equity Monitor collects and integrates data from a range of sources and places them into a single website, providing a national data report on girls’ and women’s participation in and engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Each section provides some tables, graphs and high-level observations from the data and allows users to filter or reconfigure the graphs and tables, so they can make their own observations. As the relevant issues are different for each stage of the pathway, data examined in each section is not comparable to other sections.

The Monitor is designed to assist policy makers and the STEM sector to understand where progress is being made, and where future investment in programs and policies can be focused to drive greater gender equity in STEM.

When interpreting data in the Monitor note that significance testing has not been carried out.

Data labelling for gender, women and men

The Australian Government recognises that individuals may identify and may be recognised within the community as a gender other than the biological sex they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or as a gender which is neither or not exclusively woman or man.

On this basis, we have chosen to consistently use the terms ‘gender’, ‘women’ and ‘men’ to identify the data used in the Monitor. These terms (and ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ for minors) encompass cisgender (personal gender identity corresponding with sex assigned at birth), transgender, non-binary and intersex persons who identify as women (girls) or men (boys).

There may be instances of data which were collected and recorded by sex. However, in recognition of the preferred Australian Government approach to collect information by gender, wherever possible, and for consistency, the terms ‘gender’, ‘women’ and ‘men’ will be used throughout.

There are also data sources that include information for those who identified as ‘X’ in data collection. This information is not shown on the visualisations for this Monitor due to small sample sizes, and this is stated on relevant pages.

View the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender

STEM definitions

The Monitor considers STEM to include the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, consistent with the approach taken in the Australia’s STEM Workforce report published by Australia’s Chief Scientist. The Monitor takes the Chief Scientist’s definition of STEM education fields, sourced from the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), and matches these to research fields from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC).

The Monitor also uses qualifications in STEM education fields to define STEM-qualified occupations and STEM-qualified industries. The Monitor considers an occupation or industry to be STEM-qualified if the majority of people in the occupation or industry reported a qualification in a STEM field of education in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. However, the Monitor also recognises that STEM-qualified graduates work in wide range of sectors across the workforce.

This Monitor does not include health in the definition of STEM. However, health is recognised as a closely related field that people with STEM qualifications may enter and is often included in broader definitions of STEM. The full web version of the Monitor allows users to view health data in addition to STEM, so they can see the results for STEMM–science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

STEM fields of education and research

Education and research fields are defined by the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) and Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC).

Consistent with the Australian Chief Scientist’s Australian STEM Workforce report, ‘STEM education fields’ at the 2-digit level, are used in the Monitor’s STEM definition.

Table 1. STEM education fields classification

Source: Office of the Chief Scientist (2016)

Field code level

STEM education fields

01

Natural and Physical Sciences

02

Information Technology (IT)

03

Engineering and Related Technologies

05

Agriculture, Environment and Related Studies

These are mapped across the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), to determine the ‘STEM research fields’ definition.

Table 2. STEM research fields classification

*Note: Agricultural and Veterinary Science are reported together at the 2-digit level, but have been split at the 4-digit level to reflect the STEM (Agricultural Sciences) and Health (Veterinary Sciences) definitions. For the purposes of this report ‘Veterinary Sciences’ are included separately with Division 11 ‘Medical and Health Sciences’, reflecting the distinction made in the Australian Standard Classification of Education.

Source: ABS (2008), Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), cat no. 1297.0

Division code

STEM research fields

01

Mathematical Sciences

02

Physical Sciences

03

Chemical Sciences

04

Earth Sciences

05

Environmental Sciences

06

Biological Sciences

07

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences*

0701

Agriculture, Land and Farm Management

0702

Animal Production

0703

Crop and Pasture Production

0704

Fisheries Sciences

0705

Forestry Sciences

0706

Horticultural Production

0799

Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

08

Information and Computing Sciences

09

Engineering

10

Technology


STEM-qualified occupations

STEM-qualified occupations are defined by identifying occupation classes in which the majority (more than 50%) of people in these occupations report a STEM qualification from VET or university (Table 3) in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

This method was developed with assistance from Office of the Chief Economist. Occupations are analysed using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) at a 4-digit level. Data for this analysis was sourced from the ABS (2016) Census of Population and Housing.

Table 3. Further classification of STEM-qualified occupations and industries*

*Note: Based on highest qualification stated in ABS (2016) Census of Population and Housing.

Classification

Description

University STEM-qualified

≥50% of the occupation’s/industry’s working population have a university STEM qualification

VET STEM-qualified

≥50% of the occupation’s/industry’s working population have a VET STEM qualification

Mixed STEM-qualified

≥50% of the occupation’s/industry’s working population have a STEM qualification in either VET or university

The ANZSCO occupation—‘Actuaries, mathematicians and statisticians’ (code 2241) was included in the STEM occupation definition, even though it was not identified based on the description in Table 3. Only 35% of the people within this occupation declared a STEM qualification as their highest qualification. (Most people in this occupation had a non-STEM-qualification–‘Management and Commerce’.) The decision was made to include this occupation class in the list of STEM occupations due to the recognition of the core STEM skills required by those in this occupation.

Table 4.1. University STEM-qualified occupation list

Note: Occupations marked with ‘nfd’ (not further defined) denotes responses and occupations which are not classified into the other defined categories by the ABS.

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

1332

Engineering Managers

2330

Engineering Professionals, nfd

2331

Chemical and Materials Engineers

2332

Civil Engineering Professionals

2333

Electrical Engineers

2334

Electronics Engineers

2335

Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers

2336

Mining Engineers

2339

Other Engineering Professionals

2340

Natural and Physical Science Professionals, nfd

2341

Agricultural and Forestry Scientists

2342

Chemists, and Food and Wine Scientists

2343

Environmental Scientists

2344

Geologists, Geophysicists and Hydrogeologists

2345

Life Scientists

2346

Medical Laboratory Scientists

2610

Business and Systems Analysts, and Programmers, nfd

2613

Software and Applications Programmers

2633

Telecommunications Engineering Professionals

2241

Actuaries, mathematicians and statisticians

*Not identified based on Table 3 description, but included due to recognition
that core STEM skills are required for this occupation.

Table 4.2. Vocational Education and Training STEM-qualified occupation list

Note: Occupations marked with ‘nfd’ (Not further defined) denotes responses and occupations which are not classified into the other defined categories by the ABS.

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

2312

Marine Transport Professionals

3123

Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians

3124

Electronic Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians

3125

Mechanical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians

3129

Other Building and Engineering Technicians

3200

Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers, nfd

3210

Automotive Electricians and Mechanics, nfd

3211

Automotive Electricians

3212

Motor Mechanics

3220

Fabrication Engineering Trades Workers, nfd

3222

Sheetmetal Trades Workers

3223

Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers

3230

Mechanical Engineering Trades Workers, nfd

3231

Aircraft Maintenance Engineers

3232

Metal Fitters and Machinists

3233

Precision Metal Trades Workers

3234

Toolmakers and Engineering Patternmakers

3240

Panelbeaters, and Vehicle Body Builders, Trimmers and Painters, nfd

3241

Panelbeaters

3242

Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers

3243

Vehicle Painters

3400

Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers, nfd

3411

Electricians

3421

Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics

3422

Electrical Distribution Trades Workers

3923

Printers

3933

Upholsterers

3941

Cabinetmakers

3991

Boat Builders and Shipwrights

3992

Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators

Table 4.3. Mixed STEM-qualified occupation list

Note: Occupations marked with ‘nfd’ (Not further defined) denotes responses and occupations which are not classified into the other defined categories by the ABS.

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

1351

ICT Managers

2300

Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals, nfd*

2310

Air and Marine Transport Professionals, nfd

2311

Air Transport Professionals

2322

Surveyors and Spatial Scientists

2349

Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals

2600

ICT Professionals, nfd

2611

ICT Business and Systems Analysts

2612

Multimedia Specialists and Web Developers

2621

Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists

2630

ICT Network and Support Professionals, nfd

2631

Computer Network Professionals

2632

ICT Support and Test Engineers

3100

Engineering, ICT and Science Technicians, nfd

3110

Agricultural, Medical and Science Technicians, nfd

3111

Agricultural Technicians

3113

Primary Products Inspectors

3114

Science Technicians

3120

Building and Engineering Technicians, nfd

3122

Civil Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians

3130

ICT and Telecommunications Technicians, nfd

3131

ICT Support Technicians

3132

Telecommunications Technical Specialists

3423

Electronics Trades Workers

3424

Telecommunications Trades Workers

3620

Horticultural Trades Workers, nfd


STEM-qualified industries

STEM-qualified industries within the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) are defined by identifying industries in which the majority (more than 50%) of people in these industries report a STEM qualification from VET or university (Table 3) in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

The ANZSIC industry of ‘Architectural, Engineering and Technical Services’ (code 692) was included in the STEM industry definition, even though it was not identified based on the description in Table 3. Only 40% of the people within this industry declared holding a STEM qualification as their highest qualification. This is due to the inclusion of the ‘architectural service industry’ under this code which does not meet the definition of a STEM-qualified industry. However, there are 4-digit code industries classified under ‘Architectural, Engineering and Technical Services’ that meet the definition of STEM-qualified industries. These include:

  • 6922 Surveying and Mapping Services
  • 6923 Engineering Design and Engineering Consulting Services
  • 6925 Scientific Testing and Analysis Services

The decision was made to include this industry in the list of STEM industries due to the recognition of the core STEM skills required by those in the occupation.

Six ‘not further defined’ (nfd) industries were also identified through this process. Data is not collected for these and has therefore not been included in the Monitor. Three additional industries, ‘Forestry Support Services’ (code 051), ‘Iron and Steel Forging’ (code 221) and ‘Electricity Transmission’ (code 262) also do not have data available due to insufficient sample sizes of organisations within these industries that reported to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Table 5.1. Vocational education and training STEM-qualified industries list

Source: ABS (2013), Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0), cat no. 1292.0

Code

Industry

223

Metal Container Manufacturing

239

Other Transport Equipment Manufacturing

941

Automotive Repair and Maintenance

942

Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance

692

Architectural, Engineering and Technical Services

*Not identified based on Table 3 description, but included due to recognition that core STEM skills are required for this industry.

Table 5.2. Mixed STEM-qualified industries list

Source: ABS (2013), Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0), cat no. 1292.0

Code

Industry

051

Forestry Support Services*

070

Oil and Gas Extraction

221

Iron and Steel Forging*

246

Specialised Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing

249

Other Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing

261

Electricity Generation

262

Electricity Transmission*

263

Electricity Distribution

691

Scientific Research Services

700

Computer System Design and Related Services


Health fields

‘Health’ fields are included in the Monitor, but they are reported separately from STEM fields. They are recognised as fields that rely heavily on the application of STEM skills and knowledge, but do not fit within the classification of STEM as defined in the Monitor. Health education (ASCED ‘Health’ classification–Code 06) was used to determine research fields (see Table 7) and health-qualified occupations and industries. These are defined as those where 50% or more of the workforce report a ‘Health’ (ASCED code 06) qualification in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. These are listed in tables 6 to 9. This follows the same methodology as prescribed for STEM-qualified occupations and industries.

It is important to note that data regarding researchers working within Health or Non-STEM fields of research (as defined by the Monitor) does not indicate that they do not hold STEM qualifications or are not working in a STEM occupation.

These fields report notably different demography and pathways for women. Data on women’s participation in health fields (across education, research, occupations and industries) are captured and reported upon in a separate category to provide evidence for, and greater understanding of, the differences and relationships between these fields and STEM fields. Additionally, ARC includes ‘Medical and Health Sciences’ (Division 11) and ‘Psychology and Cognitive Sciences’ (Division 17) within their definition of STEM. Therefore, their data and reporting may not be comparable with collated numbers provided here.

Table 6. Health education fields classification

Source: ABS (2001), Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001, cat no. 1272.0

Code

Health education field

06

Health

Table 7. Health education fields classification

*Note: Agricultural and Veterinary Science are reported together at the two digit level, but have been split at the four digit level to reflect the STEM (‘Agricultural Sciences’) and Health (‘Veterinary Sciences’) definitions.

Source: ABS (2008), Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), cat no. 1297.0

Division code

STEM research fields

07

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences*

0707

Veterinary Sciences

11

Medical and Health Sciences

Table 8.1. University health-qualified occupations

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

2347

Veterinarians

2511

Nutrition Professionals

2512

Medical Imaging Professionals

2514

Optometrists and Orthoptists

2515

Pharmacists

2521

Chiropractors and Osteopaths

2523

Dental Practitioners

2524

Occupational Therapists

2525

Physiotherapists

2526

Podiatrists

2527

Audiologists and Speech Pathologists \ Therapists

2530

Medical Practitioners, nfd

2531

General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers

2532

Anaesthetists

2533

Specialist Physicians

2534

Psychiatrists

2535

Surgeons

2539

Other Medical Practitioners

2540

Midwifery and Nursing Professionals, nfd

2541

Midwives

2542

Nurse Educators and Researchers

2543

Nurse Managers

2544

Registered Nurses

Table 8.2. Vocational education and training health-qualified occupations

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

3613

Veterinary Nurses

4112

Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists

4114

Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses

4116

Massage Therapists

Table 8.3. Mixed health-qualified occupations

Source: ABS (2009), ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0

Code

Occupation

2500

Health Professionals, nfd

2519

Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals

2522

Complementary Health Therapists

4111

Ambulance Officers and Paramedics

4232

Dental Assistants

Table 9. Health-qualified industries – these were all further classified as mixed health-qualified industries

Source: ABS (2013), Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0), cat no. 1292.0

Code

Industry

697

Veterinary services

840

Hospitals

851

Medical services

853

Allied health services

859

Other health care services


Data sources

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016, 2016 Census - Counting Persons, Place of Enumeration (MB), TableBuilder, viewed 11 November 2019 Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

ABS 2019, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Nov 2019, data cube: EQ08, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003, ABS, Canberra, viewed 16 January 2020.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2018, National Assessment Program – –Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) Achievement in Reading Writing, Language Conventions and Numeracy: National Report for 2018, ACARA, Sydney, viewed 24 September 2019.

Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) 2019, APS employee census 2019, Canberra, data request provided on 30 October 2019, see public information.

Australian Research Council (ARC), 2019a. Gender and the Research Workforce. Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018, ARC, Canberra.

Australian Research Council (ARC), 2019b. Gender Outcomes: NCGP Trend data. ARC, Canberra, by data request provided on 9 January 2020, see publicly available data.

Department of Education and Training (DET), Higher Education Statistics Data (uCube), extracted on 5 December 2019.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) 2020a, VET student outcomes, NCVER, Adelaide, by data request provided on 26 November 2019, see publicly available data.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) 2020b, VOCSTATS, data extracted on 24 November 2019.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2019, Research funding statistics and data, NHMRC, Canberra, by data request provided on 31 January 2020, see publicly available data.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2020a, Mathematics performance (PISA) (indicator), doi: 10.1787/04711c74-en, viewed on 30 January 2020.

OECD 2020b, Reading performance (PISA) (indicator), doi: 10.1787/79913c69-en, viewed on 30 January 2020.

OECD 2020c, Science performance (PISA) (indicator), doi: 10.1787/91952204-en, viewed on 30 January 2020.

Social Research Centre 2019, Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching: Graduate Outcomes Survey National Tables 2019, funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Student Edge, 2019–20, Youth in STEM Research, commissioned by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), DISER, Canberra.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) 2019, WGEA Data Explorer, WGEA, Canberra, viewed on 12 December 2019.


Additional resources

These resources include explanatory data notes on source data.

AlphaBeta 2018, Digital Innovation Report: Australia’s $315b opportunity, commissioned by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO’s) Data 61, CSIRO, Canberra, viewed on 29 January 2020.

Attorney General’s Department, 2015, Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, AGD, Canberra, viewed 24 September 2019.

Australian Academy of Science 2019, Women in STEM: Decadal Plan, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, viewed on 29 January 2020.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2001, Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001, cat no. 1272.0, ABS, Canberra, viewed 6 February 2020.

ABS 2013, Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (Revision 2.0), cat no. 1292.0, ABS, Canberra, viewed 6 February 2020.

ABS 2009, ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, Revision 1, cat no. 1220.0, ABS, Canberra, viewed 6 February 2020.

ABS 2008, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), cat no. 1297.0, ABS, Canberra, viewed 6 February 2020.

Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) 2019, Australian Public Service Employee Census Explanatory Guide, Canberra, viewed on 13 January 2020.

Commonwealth of Australia 2019, Advancing Women in STEM, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Canberra, viewed on 29 January 2020.

Commonwealth of Australia 2019, Advancing Women in STEM: Action Plan, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

Office of the Chief Scientist 2016, Australia’s STEM Workforce, Office of the Chief Scientist, Canberra, viewed 29 January 2020.

Social Research Centre, 2019, Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching: Study Areas, funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Thomson, S.; De Bertoli, L.; Underwood, C; Schmid, M (Australian Council for Educational Research) 2019, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018: Reporting Australia’s Results. Volume 1 Student Performance, commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Department of Education, Canberra, viewed on 12 December 2019.