- Sixty-three percent are likely to stay in STEM related fields for their entire career
- Young women still believe it’s a man’s world in STEM and that the path is difficult
ACCORDING to the second edition of the Mastercard Girls in Tech research, the study and subsequent pursuit of a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is not only satisfying but an opportunity which enables graduates to land that first job quickly.
Among first jobbers who graduated with a STEM degree, 84% indicated that they took less than six months to land their first job and 60% of these graduates were very satisfied with the job options they had upon graduation.
The results are based on interviews that took place in December 2016 with 2,270 girls aged 12-25, across six markets (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in Asia Pacific.
Aside from job satisfaction and the ease of starting a career post-graduation, the research indicated that among STEM first jobbers there is a perception of longevity in career, with 63% of the young women surveyed noting that they are likely to stay in STEM related fields for their entire career.
Ample opportunities for learning, growth and advancement as well as passion for STEM were key factors listed by respondents for the staying power of STEM careers.
Yet while the benefits of the study of STEM as well as careers are obvious and persuasive for STEM first jobbers, more can be done to encourage young girls studying subjects in the field to pursue a STEM career.
Among the teen girls surveyed, 30% of 17-19 year olds said that they will not choose STEM jobs despite studying STEM subjects.
Young girls (12-19 years old) still continue to hold the perception that STEM subjects are difficult (39%) and that STEM careers are gender-biased, with two in five girls sharing that they believe girls are less likely to choose STEM subjects because of a perception that STEM jobs are male-dominated.
“The results of the research show us that STEM as a field of study and a career choice is one that is not only fulfilling, but it has the depth and breadth to satisfy first job seekers.
“However, while the results are encouraging, they highlight some deeply held misconceptions by young girls and young women with regards to the study and pursuit of STEM – they still believe it’s a man’s world in STEM and that the path is difficult. In fact, careers in STEM afford women the opportunity to positively impact the world through their leadership and creativity.
“To build future generations of women leaders in STEM, we must continue to inspire, engage and cultivate an interest in STEM among girls at an early age,” said Mastercard Asia Pacific Communications senior vice president Georgette Tan.
- When asked what would attract girls to pursue STEM careers, young girls (17-19 years old) cited scholarships (38%), successful women in STEM as role models (34%) and greater support from schools and institutions (32%) as the top three motivators.
- STEM first jobbers felt that earlier exposure to STEM careers via networking opportunities (43%), internships (36%) and career fairs (35%) would have helped them prepare better for their current role.
- Three in five first jobbers surveyed listed suitability for women as a criteria in their job search while 46% believe that in their current organisation men are paid more than women for the same role.
- Among STEM first jobbers who considered non-STEM jobs, the fear of a lack of commercial exposure (36%), long hours (36%) and suitability for gender (33%) were the top reasons cited for doing so.
- Forty-two percent of STEM first jobbers believe we need to change society’s perception of STEM in order to attract the next generation of young women to pursue a career in STEM.
The second edition of the Girls in Tech study by Mastercard has for the first time included first jobbers who are recent STEM graduates – in both STEM and non-STEM careers – in its survey pool, hoping to continue to use these insights to help its efforts in attracting more young girls and women to pursue STEM careers.
The study adds to ongoing efforts in STEM by the company, complemented by its Girls4Tech education programme, where employees are engaged as role models and mentors, to showcase Mastercard’s payment technology and demonstrate the value of STEM-related subjects and careers through various exercises.
The hands-on, inquiry based programme was created by the company’s engineers and technologists, and has in the past year rolled out to markets in Asia Pacific such as Australia, India, China and Singapore.
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