A recent report by IBM found that workers are having difficulties pursuing roles related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across different industries.
At the same time, online training and digital credentials are emerging as a recognized pathway to opportunity as respondents plan to seek new jobs in the year ahead.
The study, administered by Morning Consult and commissioned by IBM, is based on more than 14,000 interviews of students, people seeking new jobs, and people seeking to change careers, located across 13 countries.
Respondents also cited concerns that career options may not be available to them. These findings contrast with market data that employers are investing in the reskilling of their current workforce to keep pace with rapid advances in technology and stay relevant in the modern, digital economy.
"Technology training can have a transformational effect on a person's life," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM chief impact officer. "There are many misconceptions about what's needed to pursue a rewarding and lucrative career in today's rapidly advancing workplace. This is why we must raise awareness of the breadth of science and technology roles that exist across industries. Together with our IBM SkillsBuild partners, we're highlighting the many pathways that exist for underrepresented communities to pursue futures in tech."
To help tackle these misconceptions and bring STEM education closer to historically underrepresented communities in the field, IBM is announcing 45 new educational partners around the world.
These IBM SkillsBuild collaborations across social service, economic development, and vocational organizations, as well as government agencies, and universities, will make free online learning widely available, with clear pathways to employment.
Many of these organizations focus on specific communities that are underrepresented in technology and will help skill women, including mothers returning to the workforce, ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, and refugees.
There are misconceptions around STEM training: it's too expensive, learners don't know where to start, and don't know enough about digital credentials.
- 61% of respondents think they are not qualified to work in a STEM job because they don't have the right academic degrees
- 40% of students say the greatest barrier to professional or technical skill development is that they don't know where to start
- 60% of respondents worry that digital credentials may be costly to obtain
Being able to continue to work while earning a credential is particularly important to career changers, according to the report.
Learners and workers around the world are planning to make a change, with about 60% of respondents looking for a new job in the next 12 months.
- 61% of students and career changers are actively looking for a new job now or plan to within the next year
- More than 80% of all respondents have plans to build their skills in the next two years
- At least 90% are confident they can develop skills or learn something new from an online program
Awareness of options around different STEM roles across industries is low, and many are concerned these careers won't pay enough.
- 50% of respondents are interested in pursuing a STEM-related job
- 64% of career changers are not familiar with STEM jobs
Many respondents are unsure of which careers are considered to be a STEM job
- 62% of respondents share concerns that they won't be able to find a STEM job that pays enough to support themselves or their family
Respondents are optimistic that roles in STEM fields across sectors will increase in the future, and that digital credentials are a good way to supplement traditional education and increase career opportunities.
For more information about this study, visit www.ibm.com.