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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

STEM Jobs Losing Steam with Teens?

Fewer teenagers are interested in careers in science or the arts, but more are looking at health and public-service work. However, colleges and universities might want to hold off on adjusting their course offerings just yet.

For the second consecutive year, Junior Achievement and Ernst & Young surveyed 13- to 17-year-olds about their career ambitions and financial literacy. The percentage of teens who said they’re considering working in the arts dropped from 18% in 2017 to 13% this year, but the decrease for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers was even bigger.

Just 24% of teen boys, compared to 36% a year ago, have their eye on a STEM field after high school, even though the number of girls interested in STEM (11%) didn’t change year over year. The reasons behind such a large drop with the boys in just 12 months isn’t clear, though.

“It’s definitely disconcerting that we see declining interest in STEM,” Ed Grocholski, senior vice president of brand at Junior Achievement and manager of the survey project, told U.S. News. “Teens look for a career they’re good at, and they may not think they’re good at math and science.”

The survey indicated that Mom and Dad may be playing a more important role in shaping teens’ views on careers, as 28% of survey respondents said their parents were the major influence, compared to 19% in 2017. It could be those parents are steering their kids toward other fields. Nineteen percent of teenagers want careers in medical or dental fields, up from 15% last year, and 10% would like to enter the public-service sector, up from 7%.

About 43% of the teen respondents also said they expect their parents will pay for college (compared to 32% last year), and 45% (up from 33%) anticipate taking out a student loan.

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