STUDY STEM FOR SE­CU­RITY

A sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing or maths job can se­cure your fu­ture, Lau­ren Ah­wan writes

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

W OMEN can im­prove their eco­nomic sta­tus by study­ing and work­ing in the ar­eas of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths.

Re­search by Master­card Girls in Tech shows four in five Aus­tralian women who grad­u­ate with a STEM de­gree take less than six months to se­cure their first job.

The re­search also re­veals most fe­male STEM grad­u­ates ex­pect to stay in STEM-re­lated fields for their en­tire work­ing life, cit­ing the num­ber of ca­reer op­tions.

Master­card spokes­woman Karen Lee says while ef­forts to at­tract more women into STEM have in­creased over re­cent years, there is still a long way to go.

She says in­creas­ing women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in STEM study and em­ploy­ment can im­prove their eco­nomic sta­tus and job se­cu­rity.

“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 job­seek­ers,’’ Lee says.

“If you look at where you know the jobs are go­ing in the fu­ture, a lot of jobs are go­ing to be in tech­nol­ogy so it’s re­ally im­por­tant to en­cour­age girls to come into that field.’’

Lee says many young girls per­ceive STEM sub­jects to be too dif­fi­cult, while oth­ers shy away from STEM be­cause they do not want to work in male-dom­i­nated work­places.

“We need to bring ca­reers in STEM to life – it’s not all ster­ile and you won’t be sit­ting at a desk all day,’’ Lee says. “There are many creative (ca­reer) path­ways you can go down by study­ing those (STEM) sub­jects, which can be a real eye opener for many women.”

A pa­per re­leased from the Of­fice of the Chief Sci­en­tist last year high­lighted the need for on­go­ing ac­tion to sup­port women to pur­sue STEM ca­reers, say­ing they are just as tal­ented and ca­pa­ble as men.

“Aus­tralia is al­ready a global leader in sci­ence,’’ chief Sci­en­tist Dr Alan Finkel says.

“Imag­ine what we could achieve if women and men felt equally wel­comed and ap­pre­ci­ated in STEM pro­fes­sions.”

Giselle Stutzer, 26, grad­u­ated from TAFE last year with an As­so­ciate De­gree in Elec­tron­ics En­gi­neer­ing and is now study­ing an elec­tri­cal and elec­tronic en­gi­neer­ing de­gree at univer­sity.

“There are op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery­where (in Aus­tralia) so there will be job se­cu­rity, for sure,’’ Stutzer says.

Pic­ture: TAIT SCHMAAL

OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES: Giselle Stutzer chose to study vo­ca­tional and ter­tiary STEM qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

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