With the world moving towards the advanced industries, it is well justified why governments join forces with private companies and schools to ensure that teenagers do not limit their career choices while opting for humanities rather than science at the early stages of their life. Quite simply, failing to take so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) might result in the students being hold back in the future.
While the skills mismatch is already a overpowering problem, it is necessary to recognize that the market demand will not swift towards humanities anytime soon, if any. As of now, despite the fact that the levels of youth unemployment are skyrocketing, millions of jobs in Europe remain unfilled and the head-hunters have a tough nut to crack when it comes to finding graduates who match the market requests
The reality is changing and facing it requires long-term actions. While for previous generations the focus on science-related subjects was only required in case of opting for engineering or medical degree, now this knowledge is becoming a requirement. Times where the use of and the applicability of humanities in the job market is appreciated seems to have disappear, raising a question if the number of STEM students and graduates will be sufficient to meet the needs of future industries.
To face the situation the governments across Europe have started encouraging students to take up the science degrees by providing the best students with scholarships and benefits that are not applicable for the humanities learners.
Yet, low level of science intake is not the only problem that needs to be faced. The gender gap is widespread and certain subjects are dominated by men, increasing the pay gap.
The theme is particularly debatable in the United Kingdom. Recognizing the milieu, British government is planning to introduce postgraduate financing but stated that postgraduate loans may be limited to students in STEM fields. The rationale of the new policy is simple- the system of repayment the current undergraduate loan is based on graduates repaying a fixed percentage of their earnings between £15,000 and £21,000. As many graduates do not obtain sufficient funds once they have graduated, they are not obliged to pay off the loan which gets cancelled after 20 years.
One of the ways approaches that are being implemented is the Your Life campaign which aims to increase the number of graduates taking physics and maths at the A-level and ‘help to dispel the myths around STEM subjects’ that often discourage students to take up this career.
The campaign has set the following objectives
– To raise awareness of the career opportunities offered by science and math degrees,
– To present positive role models
– To create mentoring programmes and cooperation programmes with businesses
How about you country? Share with us what is being done on local / national / regional level? What is the level of the skills mismatch problem in your community? Do you recognize it as a big problem?