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Impending STEM Shortages in Australia: Beware the 'Smoke and Mirrors'

To identify the reasons behind ‘impending’ shortages in the STEM workforce – and clear the discrepancies between research literature and government rhetoric.

Objective

To identify the reasons behind ‘impending’ shortages in the STEM workforce – and clear the discrepancies between research literature and government rhetoric.

Background

Over the past decade, many industry and government reports have indicated falling participation rates in STEM subjects. They also expressed that employers were experiencing great difficulty finding workers with appropriate STEM qualifications.

To highlight the inconsistencies between the reports and STEM literature, Deborah Corrigan, Debra Panizzon, Helen Forgasz and Sarah Hopkins analysed:

  1. The number of secondary and tertiary students participating in STEM subjects
  2. The various fields of education comprising STEM
  3. Economic measures (e.g. job availabilities and salaries) relating to STEM graduate destinations and employment

Key findings

After analysing Australian and international STEM literature, the key findings are as follows:

  • The number of secondary and tertiary students participating in STEM subjects has remained stable
  • There were more graduates than jobs available in natural and physical sciences
  • There was no evidence suggesting a shortage of STEM university graduates for jobs
  • Many STEM graduates reported a shortage of STEM jobs – and not being employed in a STEM-related role
  • The industry may be creating a false need for STEM skills to open alternative pathways in STEM employment

Learn more

To discover more about this study, read the full research report.

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Impending STEM Shortages in Australia: Beware the 'Smoke and Mirrors'

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