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Five Reasons to Study STEM

Five Reasons to Study STEM

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and here are five reasons to study STEM subjects.

From pay to the greater good of all, there are plenty of benefits to choosing to study a STEM subject. This doesn’t mean necessarily studying for a university degree either – there are several pathways into a very rewarding STEM related career, including the apprenticeship route, including degree apprenticeships and apprentice employers who pay for their apprentices to progress to a university degree.

The average salary of STEM graduates

One of the reasons to study STEM has to be the earning potential. Graduates of STEM subjects can expect higher starting salaries than graduate of other subjects.  They can also expect to be earning more than non-STEM graduates a few years into their employment.   On average STEM graduates are expected to earn £250,000 more over a lifetime than non-graduates.

Job prospects for STEM graduates

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever your education looks like, it is connected to your future life in work so make it count and make sure that you understand the value of what you are studying and learning to your future.

Having a STEM qualification makes you very employable. Demand for people working in STEM fields is high and set to increase even more over the next five years. This is very important for female students to understand as the UK demand actually cannot be met if more girls do not choose STEM careers.

The huge variety of careers in STEM

One of the other, very good reasons to study STEM is the huge variety of employment that will lie ahead of you. STEM learning has a place in almost every industry that you can think of, from the entertainment industry (for example games design) and the sports industry to jobs in the space industry or even in space itself.

Employment in STEM industries

You will meet many people along the way who will tell you that what they do now has nothing to do with what they studied.  Studying STEM subjects are far more likely to lead to employment in a directly related field however. For example 18.4% of chemistry graduates were employed as science professionals six months after graduating and a further 19% were employed as associate professionals and technicians, those who graduated in electrical engineering in 2014, 38.8% were employed as engineering professionals and a massive 58.8% of computer science graduate were employed as IT professionals.

Making the world a better place through STEM

For many young people, the idea that they are going to make a difference to the world is really important.  Lots of you don’t want to just ‘get by’ and earn a decent wage – you actually want to contribute to making the world and people’s live better and this is another good reason to study STEM.

Some examples of how studying STEM might lead to you making the world a better place.

Working in renewable energy and finding new sources of energy which do not depend on the burning of fossil fuels could see you contributing to one of the largest problems of our time and doing your bit to secure the future development of nations. As an added bonus, there are likely to be plenty of job opportunities too.

As someone who studied STEM, you might work on a cure for disease. Did you know that there are 338.623 cases of cancer in the UK every year?  You could be part of a team working to prevent this.

If you’re a girl – here’s an idea… why not work on research which also tells us how to design things in a way that keeps women safe. For example, did you know that:

  • Until 2011 car safety testing and design was based on an average American male crash test dummy– no female crash test dummy existed.
  • The information that we have regarding the effects of environmental pollution all relates to men
  • Calculations on radiation dosages are based on an absorption model of a middle-aged man

As a female – once you’re working in STEM – get out there and let other girls see you!

Encouraging more young females into STEM qualifications and careers is not as simple as changing the aspirations that young girls have and there is clearly no one, quick fix.  Encouraging excellent teachers with financial incentives, such as bursaries and training will always be of benefit to all young people regardless of gender, but targeting the cultural and social drivers behind aspirations is a much larger issue.

According to the Women’s Business Council,

The choices young women make about education and careers are shaped by the interplay between cultural messages, peer and parental pressures, people they meet from the world of work and their individual determination, and stereotypes about ‘men’s work’ and ‘women’s work’ are a strong influence even at primary school.”

So, there you have it – five reasons to study STEM and all of them very good. From the earnings potential of STEM graduates to the potential to change the world for the better – what’s not to love?


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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