Low confidence in STEM skills - Education Matters Magazine

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Low confidence in STEM skills

According to a new report, over half of Australia’s Generation Z don’t think they are capable of a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM), with young females showing less confidence when compared to their male peers.

The Westpac STEM Careers and Perceptions Report, released in June 2019, involved a nationwide survey of 1357 Australians aged 16-24 years of age, of which 353 currently work in STEM-related roles.

According to the findings, 51% of those surveyed don’t think they are capable of a STEM career.

The research highlights a lack of STEM confidence among many Australians, revealing 64% of Gen Z workers feel they don’t have the skills required for their future career, with three in four believing they need to upskill in STEM to future-proof their job.

“I think there is a narrow perception that a career in STEM is always highly technical, but in actual fact STEM skills open up a broad range of career opportunities, including working with technology, finance, food, fashion and travel,” said Anastasia Cammaroto, Chief Information Officer for Westpac Consumer Division.

“We know STEM skills are rapidly becoming more important in the future of the workforce, but I see a disconnect with the desire to embrace these skills, especially among young women. Understanding the importance of these industries is the key to encouraging young Australians, especially women, about the amazing opportunities on offer. And it all starts with education and breaking down the confusion or uncertainty around STEM from an early age.

The report also revealed many Australians are still grappling with what a career in STEM could look like, with 40% of female workers not knowing what occupations are considered to be work in STEM.

“Our research really highlights the lack of awareness and education about STEM careers with 77% of young Australians not knowing exactly what STEM is. Having started my career in engineering, and now leading a tech team, I know first-hand how incredibly rewarding and interesting a career in STEM is. I strongly agree with the majority of STEM workers surveyed who said they feel confident (42%), challenged (41%) and happy (40%) in their career path,” concluded Ms Cammaroto.

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