New STEM IQ survey: Americans view STEM as top-paying field, yet only 35% pursuing STEM jobs.

Modis Posted 10 July 2018

Modis released the results of its new STEM IQ survey today, which unveils insights into the public’s knowledge and perceptions of STEM careers. The survey shows that even as they acknowledge the financial benefits of STEM jobs, Americans are not readily pursuing those fields, with only 35% saying they intend to pursue a STEM career.

Factors keeping people from pursuing STEM jobs are that they did not learn the right skills in school (17%) or that they do not have the financial means to go back to school or "start over" in STEM (25%). 15% also say they do not know where to look for a STEM job.

"STEM fields play a vital role in our labor market and will be even more important as the world of work becomes increasingly technical," said Trent Beekman, President of Recruitment Solutions, Modis. "By understanding how people perceive opportunities in STEM, we can better attract, prepare and pipeline to meet the growing demand."

More than half of survey respondents (51%) are moderately to extremely interested in a career in a STEM field. Almost a quarter (23%) of these cite high pay and the opportunity to make a difference in the world as the most appealing factor for having a career in a STEM field.

Other survey results highlights include:

  • 68% of respondents believing that compensation is higher for STEM jobs than jobs in other fields.
  • Nearly half (42%) believe that education in the US is keeping up with the demand for STEM-skilled workers, while 32% somewhat to strongly disagree.
  • More than half (59%) believe somewhat to strongly that the U.S. is globally competitive in STEM careers.
  • 39% rate their understanding of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) as average compared to an average person in the US; 25% rate their understanding as somewhat above average, and only 14% rate it as far above average.
  • 38% say they would be willing to go back to school or learn new skills related to STEM if it meant they would be able to obtain a stable, well-paying job.
  • People are evenly split on whether they agree or disagree that older workers have equal opportunities for careers in STEM as younger workers.
  • More than half (59%) believe women have equal opportunities in STEM careers as men.
  • Of those who stated they don’t think they are smart enough to pursue a career in STEM (10%), 60% were women and 40% were men.

Methodology: Modis partnered with Allison+Partners Research+Insights to survey 1,030 individuals over the age of 18 in the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insight Platform, and the panel was sourced from Fulcrum by Lucid. Fielding was executed in June 2018.

Download the 2018 STEM IQ Survey results & synopsis

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