What is STEM and why is it important?

What is STEM and why is it important?

We’re going to assume that if you’re reading CareerswithSTEM.com.au, you might have a clue about STEM. But just in case, let’s start with the basics: What is STEM and why is it important?

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Sometimes, you might see an extra ‘A’ or ‘M’ thrown in there like ‘STEAM’ or ‘STEMM’. They stand for ‘Arts’ and ‘Medicine’.

The concept of STEM actually started in the US as a way to combat low student participation rates that we’re still seeing today. It all started with a report that found a correlation between people employed in science and tech jobs and that country’s economic prosperity and the innovation of world issues.


Did you know? You could have been reading this article on CareerswithSMET.com.au? When the acronym was first invented by educators at the American National Science Foundation in 2001, they almost went with ‘SMET’. Fortunately it was changed to ‘STEM’ as it had a better ring to it.


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Why is it important to study STEM?

It’s a widely reported fact that 75% of all future jobs will require STEM skills and knowledge. So, if you’re planning on being employed in the future, having STEM skills will widen your job opportunities exponentially.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have to be a mathematician, or a scientist to survive. STEM skills are applicable to just about every industry. You could work in environmental conservation using maths skills, or become a fashion designer using the latest tech. Check out our profiles page for more career possibilities!


“Science and innovation are recognised internationally as key for boosting productivity, creating more and better jobs, enhancing competitiveness and growing an economy.”

– ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future’, Chief Scientist, Sept. 2014.


On a wider scale, STEM skills contribute to economic growth. Take Science for example. A report from Australia’s Chief Scientist estimates that 14% of Australia’s economic activity comes from careers in Science – including a direct contribution of $185 billion per year!

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What are students saying about STEM?

artificial intelligence

“All throughout high school teachers will try to sell you on a career field based on employment prospects, starting salaries, and job security. Of course, careers in STEM have all that, but there’s more to it. Being STEM students, we are constantly immersed in the latest technological innovations, and spend our time searching for the answers to questions that haven’t necessarily been asked yet.

“Moreover, Albert Einstein once said; “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” It is often overlooked that STEM underpins nature, art, architecture, music, dance, and even provides insight and understanding into the unpredictability of human emotion – just look to the golden ratio, chaos theory, fractals.”

“Studying STEM is the opportunity to be able to try to grasp the dynamic world that lies all around us. It gives us the chance to participate in the worldwide initiative to attempt to understand the universe in all of its complexity.”

“There are so many exciting career paths in STEM. My STEM career path has enabled me to combine my passion for the marine environment with cutting edge technology for whale conservation.”

What is STEM and why is it important to you? Let us know in the comments!

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