You may well be aware that women are underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) occupations across the world, but the fact that these occupations are set to grow in the coming decades puts the problem into sharp focus. Women make up only 14.4% of all people working in STEM in the UK, despite being about half of the workforce.
“The disconnect between girls and STEM-related career paths happens through the course of their school career” says Edwina Dunn, Founder of The Female Lead. “Young girls are rarely encouraged to pursue maths and science, meaning they are missing out on creative and rewarding careers and jobs of the future, such as forensic scientist, robot counsellor, wearable technology therapist, or gamification designer."
We need to encourage more girls to take STEM subjects, rather than directing them away from potentially more ‘challenging’ subjects, such as Maths and Science, due to a relentless focus on achieving the highest possible grades. Turning away from STEM subjects in school can ultimately deprive them access to many high-paid and fast-growing careers.
There is also a misconception due to stereotypical assumptions that work in these areas is ‘dead end’ or 'poorly paid'. Girls grow up seeing few women in powerful positions. The media continues to promote stereotypes in technology and science fiction, often portraying these characters as geeky males.
Future Finder, an innovative free web-app, was created to replace the lack of awareness of available jobs with clarity around the vital importance and high value attached to STEM qualifications. Future Finder links today’s A-level subject choices with jobs of the future.
The app works in four different ways:
inputting a combination of A-level subjects unlocks a list of aligned;
entering a job throws up a list of recommended A-levels;
students looking for careers advice can fill in a brief questionnaire, which Future Finder will use to create a personality profile and provide relevant answers;
pushing the “inspire me” button reveals some of the fastest-growing jobs of the future, from “big data wrangler” to “augmented reality architect”
From what they can earn, to what they’ll be doing day to day, Future Finder has all the information teenagers need plus a whole series of jobs of the future, videos and career pathways.
Student benefits include learning more about potential careers, enhancing knowledge of the labour market, raising aspirations and increasing confidence in searching and applying for jobs.
Edwina Dunn, Founder of The Female Lead says: “We know from our Tough Choices research that too many students, especially girls, view STEM subjects as a dead end when the reality is the opposite – so many jobs now and in future will depend on these skills. We hope Future Finder will enable many more students to uncover new and exciting career aspirations, while equipping them with the fundamental knowledge of the subjects and skills they need to get there.”
To find out which careers will open the most doors in the 2020s, log on to: Futurefinder.yourlife.org.uk
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