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Research shows why studying STE(A)M is a good investment

Students studying science, technology, engineering, (arts) and maths [STE(A)M] subjects show good returns on the time and money they invest according to a recently released study. The study by labour market data experts Emsi said that students studying STE(A)M in FY2016/17 could expect a 13.4% average annual return on their investment over their career employment.

The wide-ranging study, commissioned by STE(A)M education charity EDT in partnership with global high technology company Leonardo, shows that STE(A)M students in FY 2016/17 paid £4.1bn for that education and forwent £16.1bn in income that they could have earned by not studying. However, Emsi’s calculations of expected earnings shows that they will earn £77.9bn more as a result of their studies over their careers, a return of £3.80 for every £1 invested which equates to a 13.4% average annual return.

The positives of STE(A)M careers are further emphasised in the analysis which shows that the STE(A)M job market is expected to grow faster than non-STE(A)M (4.2 vs 3.9%) and that the median hourly wage for STE(A)M occupations at £19.60 is nearly 50% higher than that for non-STEM occupations.

Leonardo engaged with EDT to define the initial parameters for the Emsi Survey and scope of the research and worked closely at every key stage of production of the final findings to ensure relevancy to industry was maintained.

Julie Feest, CEO of EDT stated: “These figures make the case for young people choosing STE(A)M as their best career path. Investing their time and resources into a STE(A)M career will be well worth the effort, pointing them into interesting careers with better pay and better job availability.

“It is the job of industry, education, families and friends to make sure that young people understand these benefits. It is also important that young people start down this path early in their school careers. The best way to achieve this is for young people to get regular and high-quality experiences of industry throughout their school careers, enabling them to see the quality of the jobs available, the inherent interest of the work being done, and to have the career opportunities and prospects clearly explained.

“Too many young people are making decisions about their career directions at school without access to the right information. The information in this research and the proper use of experiences of industry by employers and educators will not only help them make good decisions but will also help the momentum of the UK economy.”

Clive Higgins, HR Director UK for Leonardo added: “Leonardo is passionate about engaging students to help them explore the way in which STE(A)M studies can lead to creative and diverse career paths. This independent research now gives validity to just how rewarding STE(A)M studies and careers can be, both for the individual and the UK economy. Our participation in this research illustrates the importance of our continued investment in STE(A)M programmes across the UK, creating jobs and career paths which enable us to push the boundaries of engineering and technical innovation and excellence.”

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