Australians have big opinions on STEM, according to new survey insights

The good news? 67% of Australians agree young people are more engaged in science and science-related issues than ever before. Image: Shutterstock

This National Science Week a nation-wide survey is confirming what we already know – that science, tech, engineering and maths fields are basically running the world

It’s official – Australia rates STEM careers! In fact 92% of us think we need more of them.

For the first time in Australia, science and innovation company 3M has released a global benchmarking study – the State of Science Index – that sets out to find out what we, as a country, think about science.

So, is the rest of Australia just as stoked on STEM careers as us? Here are some of the biggest learnings form the published research.

In Australia, trust in science is high (*phew*)

During the last 12 months we’ve placed a lot of faith in health advice – which seems to be consistent across other STEM fields too! Amongst the Australians surveyed, trust in science one year into the pandemic at 90%. And belief in scientists? 89%!

COVID has inspired us to consider STEM pathways

From 3D-printed door openers to medical robots, STEM professionals around the world are finding creative ways to fight COVID – and according to 3M’s research, it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

A significant 55% of Gen Z and millennial respondents have acknowledged that they’ve been more inspired to pursue STEM careers than ever before due to the pandemic, with 92% of those surveyed in agreement that the world needs more people in STEM roles.

Diversity in STEM is a huge priority

Research shows that unconscious bias and stereotypes influence us from as young as nine years old, yet we know STEM skills are highly regarded by employers and will be vital in our tech-driven future workforce.

The good news? Australians are increasingly acknowledging this – with 69% of us agreeing that underrepresented minority groups often don’t receive equal access to STEM education and 84% stressing that more needs to be done to encourage girls in particular into STEM roles.

Sustainable solutions are increasingly in demand

A huge 90% of Australians feel that we should follow science to help make the world more sustainable, and 80% of us are in agreement that solutions to mitigate climate change need to be put in place like, yesterday.

And while the pandemic ranks top of the list of issues that Aussies most want science to solve, the rest of our concerns are all environmental. Among the biggest global problems are – not surprisingly – climate change, access to renewable energy sources and clean water supply.

Oh, and get this – 61% of those surveyed, credit COVID to making them more environmentally conscious! Must be all that time to think…    

Aussies want more investment in STEM!

STEM careers have the ability to save the future from the world’s biggest problems, so it’s no surprise that 95% of us believe that investments in science will make the country stronger.

Cross-border and public-private sector collaboration seem to be priorities too – with 93% of Australians certain that as the world faces major challenges, countries should collaborate to create considered, science-backed solutions.

Want to see the full list of stats and facts? Head here for the full State of Science Index Survey.

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Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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