Young Australians value STEM for the future

We have released a survey of young Australians revealing their attitudes towards STEM subjects and careers.
Photo of young students and teacher looking at STEM equipment in a lab.

Image credit: Student Edge

In a world of continuing technological and innovative advancement, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are critical to Australia’s future.

We recently commissioned Student Edge to carry out a survey of 2000 young Australians between 12 and 25 about their attitudes towards STEM.

The survey aims to create a national overview of young Australians’ awareness and perceptions of STEM subjects and careers. Results show:

  • young Australians are aware of the importance of STEM
  • many are interested in pursuing STEM subjects and careers
  • STEM skills are seen as important to get a rewarding job
  • students believe scientists make a positive difference to the world

Girls’ attitudes to STEM

The survey shows girls have less confidence in achieving good results in STEM subjects. Gender stereotypes around careers like mathematician, engineer and computer programmer still appear to exist. Girls see these careers as being ‘for boys’.

It’s estimated that by 2030, Australian workers will spend 77% more time using science and mathematics skills. If girls and women remain underrepresented in STEM education and careers, Australia won’t reach its full potential.

That’s why the government is dedicated to increasing the participation of girls and women in STEM. In the 2018-2019 Budget, the government committed $4.5 million over 4 years to support more women to pursue STEM education and careers.

This builds on existing programs, including the National Innovation and Science Agenda’s Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship initiative. This initiative invested more than $13 million from 2016-2017 to 2019-2020 towards increasing female participation in STEM subjects and entrepreneurial careers.

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