Although students, job seekers and career changers are optimistic about the growth of STEM jobs and believe digital credentials are useful, many have low awareness of the opportunities available, according to a report commissioned by IBM and produced by Morning Consult.
The report revealed survey data collected at the end of 2022 from more than 14,000 people at various stages of their career journeys around the world, in countries including the US, India and Brazil. Two-thirds of respondents said they believe STEM jobs will increase across industries over the next decade, and half said they are interested in doing so. More than 80% of respondents plan to develop their skills in the next two years, and three-quarters agreed that digital accreditations are a good way to complement traditional education.
However, 64% of career changers surveyed were unaware of STEM jobs, and many respondents were unsure which careers are even considered STEM. 61% believe they don’t have the right degree for a STEM job, and 40% say the biggest barrier to developing professional or technical skills is not knowing where to start. Finance was also an issue: 60% cited cost as a barrier to developing professional or technical skills, and 62% worried they would not be able to find a STEM job that paid enough to support them or their families.
“There are many misconceptions about what it takes to pursue rewarding and rewarding careers in today’s fast-paced workplace,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of impact at IBM. “That’s why we need to raise awareness of the breadth of science and engineering roles that exist across industries.”
To address these issues, IBM announced the creation of 45 new IBM SkillsBuild partnerships, working with organizations to provide free online training and credentials in STEM subjects including cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud computing. In addition to online training, partnerships include support from community experts who lead project-based learning and who can connect students to career opportunities. Many of the organizations that will partner with IBM focus on groups that are underrepresented in STEM, such as women, ethnic minorities and low-income individuals. The collaboration will span the globe, but 11 will be based in the United States, including The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University, MomRelaunch and CompTIA, the IT industry’s top trade association.
“Technology training can have a transformative effect on a person’s life,” Nixon-Saintil said. “Together with our IBM SkillsBuild partners, we’re highlighting the many paths that exist for underrepresented communities to pursue a future in technology.”