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            In Which Country are STEM Subjects Most Popular?

            17th May 2023

            STEM is a well-known field among students considering their degree choice and has a wide range of potential careers. Students can benefit from STEM education in ensuring a diverse, prosperous and bright future. The industry offers a wide range of vocations, including those in artificial intelligence, that have and will greatly influence the world.

            STEM graduates are sought after globally but are often in short supply. Many countries have tried to increase the number of STEM graduates to bolster various growing industries. But in which country are STEM subjects most popular?

            According to figures collated by UNESCO, students in Malaysia and Tunisia are among the most likely to graduate in a STEM field, with between 40-43.5% of their students receiving a respective degree. India, with 34% of students picking STEM, is however producing the most graduates in total in the field due to its population of around 1.4 billion people. Notably UNESCO did not publish data for China, as China classifies engineering and science fields quite broadly, leading to a lack of comparability in the data.

            Other countries with a strong showing of STEM graduates are the United Arab Emirates, Germany and South Korea – all producing more than 30% STEM graduates. With the exception of Germany (35.8%), Western Europe is not a STEM hotbed. Only 26% of UK graduates come from STEM courses, as do 25% in France and 23% in Spain. Even fewer graduate in the Americas, with shares of 19.6% and 17.5% in the U.S. and Brazil, respectively. Eastern Europe has higher percentages of STEM graduates, with Belarus at 34.6% STEM graduates and Russia and Serbia also scoring above 30%.

            As almost a universal rule, each of the countries surveyed had one thing in common, male STEM students outnumber their female counterparts. Nevertheless, both traditional STEM nations and those trying to bolster their STEM workforce can benefit from the involvement of more women in the disciplines, in the name of equal opportunity but also to satisfy the ever increasing need for science and tech professionals that is expected to grow larger over the coming decades.

            STEM education and research is increasingly recognised globally as fundamental to national development and productivity, economic competitiveness and societal wellbeing. There has been a global turn to STEM that is clearly evident in government efforts worldwide to elaborate upon STEM policy governing school science and mathematics, and tertiary level education and research in the STEM disciplines.

            MD Comment

            With a relatively low percentage of overall graduates majoring in a STEM subject and a smaller population than many of our global economic competitors, it’s no surprise we are struggling as an economy and country to meet UK demand for STEM skills. Rather than strangle economic growth and innovation perhaps it’s now time for our government to encourage and stimulate the finest STEM skills to locate in the UK by introducing a straightforward, unbureaucratic, skill-led immigration system.

            Posted by Mike Gorshkov

            Managing Director at Linea Resourcing

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