Modern careers are constantly evolving, so how are teachers, parents, students and professionals keeping up with the shift? We decided to find out, sending our STEM education survey to people from all sectors of the STEM community.
While the majority of people surveyed consider STEM skills and STEM jobs important information for today’s students, an overwhelming amount of respondents say they don’t have the resources to understand or communicate what the future of work might look like.
In the classroom
Of the teachers surveyed in the 2019 STEM Report, more than half (57.3%) have over 15 years experience in education. They represent teachers of every age and stage from K-12 – although the majority currently work in secondary school (63%).
Of these educators, the majority (73%) said they consider integrating career pathways into the classroom either quite important or very important. Despite this, a whopping 93.3% of educators think that they do not have enough access to careers resources for the classroom.
Parents are also under-supplied with career resources, with 40% of parents answering our STEM education survey considering themselves only somewhat confident to teach their children about the careers of the future. This is concerning, considering the students surveyed said they are most likely to receive career advice or information from teachers (80%) and parents (56%).
We also received some insight into where students, teachers, parents and professionals were most likely to find their careers resources – and the results were certainly surprising.
Where do you get your resources?
143 respondents to the STEM education survey said they were more likely to search websites for careers info, while 114 and 111 people respectively placed their votes with printed magazines, books & flyers and university open days.
Respondents were much less likely to search up social media apps, including LinkedIn. 101 people said they would not use Twitter for careers information, 95 said Facebook and 90 people said they were not likely to search LinkedIn.
Why careers resources are important
“The way I found the career I wanted was from one of the Careers with STEM magazines. They have made me eager to learn and given me a desire to study math and science. This magazine is so inspiring and I hope to one day become like one of your featured scientists.” – Student, QLD
“Some students don’t choose to study STEM because of the way that STEM is presented to them. They can’t see the relevance or they find it very difficult to learn the skills/concepts associated with STEM subjects.” – Teacher, NSW
“STEM needs to be marketed to schools, and to the right people in the school. I have tried to get teachers and vice principals excited about STEM, but they just see it as hard work and not important enough. These are the people you need to get through to. The ones that can make the changes in the school.” – STEM professional, TAS
Finding a job
Of the students surveyed, 100% planned on going to university, TAFE or some form of higher education. Despite the certainty of study, none of the students considered themselves 100% sure of their future career path.
Does this reflect flaws in the links between education and real-world outcomes, or does it reflect the changing face of the workforce – where careers aren’t as black or white as ‘Teacher’ or ‘Doctor’, but are amalgamations of diverse skill-sets and industry pathways?
65.9% of STEM professionals surveyed think STEM skills are very important to students, while 68.2% of STEM professionals consider students being familiar with STEM careers very important.
Of all people taking our STEM education survey, these were the top skills predicted to be useful for future careers:
- Problem solving – 42%
- Communication – 30%
- Critical thinking – 26%
Of all people surveyed, technology jobs were the top prediction for future careers, including:
- Software developers/programmers
- Robotics engineers
- Cyber security specialists
- Data scientists
Preparing for the future
We asked our survey-takers to fill in the blank: “The best way to help students prepare for careers of the future is to…”
And here’s what they said:
“Have authentic and realistic conversations about what the careers of the future will look like.” – STEM professional, NSW
“Encourage them to engage in career development and seek career advice from qualified career practitioners who are well informed.” – Careers adviser, NSW
“Teach them to teach themselves. Extensive knowledge leads to success in developing skills. Practicing skills leads to building competence. Competence drives motivation. Knowledge is key!” – Educator, NSW
“Let them make their own decisions.” – Student, QLD