Once heralded as the passports to a secure and well-paid career, science, technology and maths degrees now have some of Australia’s lowest employment rates according to a university head.
The warning for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates came from Vicki Thomson – chief executive of the Group of Eight universities association.
Ms Thomson’s words are backed by industry leaders who say too many graduates are ignorant of the job market or do not have practical experience.
Around 20 per cent of Australia’s near two million domestic students who graduated between 2007 and 2016 were in STEM disciplines – according to the Daily Telegraph.
But maths and science graduates are finding jobs at a rate 10 per cent lower than the average post-graduation, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI),
The Go8 chief executive has also called for greater recognition of vocational education.
In an address to the Graduate Employment Outcomes and Industry Partnership Forum in Sydney, Ms Thompson said Australia would be a ‘poorer nation’ if it did not give the entire tertiary system the value it deserves.
She said: ‘We could not live healthily, safely or successfully without plumbers, electricians, fire safety inspectors – all of which is delivered through VET.’
Ninety-two per cent of trade course graduates found a job straight away, according to a recent report.
Pearson educational consultants published an article last year calling for more government investment in STEAM, with the added ‘A’ referring to Art.
Meanwhile, Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said even highly qualified candidates from STEM degrees were struggling to get hired.
He said: ‘No qualification by itself these days is a passport to a job.’