61% of people believe they are underqualified for a role in STEM

Woman with brown hair wearing an orange blazer in a job interview, shaking hands with the interviewer and smiling


More than three in five people believe they do not have the right academic qualifications to pursue a career in STEM, with the cost of training found to be a major barrier to the industry.

A report that questioned over 14,000 job seekers and students, released by IBM, revealed major misconceptions around pursuing a career in STEM, with the majority of respondents unclear about opportunities and training available. 

The research found that 61 per cent of students and those looking towards a career change are actively aiming to secure a new job over the next 12 months, although more than half of those are unfamiliar with the STEM landscape and of what is considered to be a STEM role. 

A lack of female representation has also been highlighted as a pressing issue for the industry, with women making up just 26 per cent of the current tech workforce, according to Tech Nation. 

Speaking about the report, Cyndi Festa, Head of Data Sources, Encompass Corporation, said,  “There is so much potential within STEM and, as a woman working in technology, I know the opportunities these careers can bring.”

“Technology is all around, so, you have a choice; you can ignore it or you can jump into it.”

“When you begin to understand how some of it works, you can engage differently.”

“Technology is a discipline, and the logical thinking of a technologist applies to a significant proportion of your life – it is everywhere.”

“Being more familiar with it has helped me engage with others and achieve so much in my life.”

“To women, particularly – job seekers and students alike – I say be brave and don’t let society put limitations on you – or put limitations on yourself.”

“You can have it all, but you need to define what ‘all’ means to you, which may just be a prosperous career in the tech industry.” 

Despite a disconnect in understanding, two-thirds of people asked believe that the number of STEM jobs will increase over the next decade. 

With the potential of the industry top of mind, training is viewed as a major enabler of a career in STEM, with increased opportunities and qualifications cited as a top reason for undertaking digital training. 86 per cent of those who have earned a digital credential agreed that it helped them to achieve their professional goals.  

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Group, added,  “The digital skills gap is holding back the nation from economic recovery and business growth, and, as the nation’s digital transformation accelerates, the skills gap remains a prevailing issue that cannot be ignored.”

“Investing in digital skills is more important than ever, especially when looking at untapped groups of individuals, such as females, whose talent is currently going to waste.”  

“It is in the interest of businesses to rethink outdated recruitment and training processes in order to scout out candidates who hold skills that can be trained, or retrained, into tech roles.”

“Ensuring guidance and support is offered to showcase the multitude of opportunities available within the industry while making them accessible to anyone who holds transferable skills, is vital.”

“There is no better time to invest in creating an empowered digital workforce that promotes diversity and inclusion.”




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