Is Australia keeping up? Science and technology graduates and the workforce
Science and technology have transformed the world, and will continue to do so. But there is widespread concern that Australia is not keeping up with the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) skills. Many people believe that our universities produce too few graduates in STEM fields. But the evidence seems mixed, with too many graduates in some science fields and recent IT graduates struggling to find work, despite many job opportunities in the IT industry. Should we focus more on the quality of STEM education, rather than increasing the number of graduates?
Dr Jim Minifie is the Productivity Growth Program Director at Grattan Institute. Jim is a leading economist and writer, with a strong grasp of the Australian policy landscape. A graduate in applied economics from Stanford University, he worked closely with Australian corporate leaders during his seven years as Chief Economist of the Boston Consulting Group.
Alan Finkel AO commenced as Australia’s Chief Scientist in January 2016. He has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator. Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the Chancellor of Monash University and President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Renee Hindmarsh is the Executive Director of the Australian Technology Network of universities (ATN). Prior to working with Australia’s leading technology universities, she advised State and Federal governments on policy and was a director at Australia’s largest government relations firm.
Andrew Norton is the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute. He is the author or co-author of many publications on higher education issues. His most recent reports are HELP for the future: fairer repayment of student debt and Mapping Australian higher education 2016, the fourth edition of a widely used reference on higher education trends and policies (to be released July 2016).
Below is a suggested reading list from State Library Victoria
- Science, technology, engineering and mathematics: Australia’s future. Canberra: Office of the Chief Scientist, Sept. 2014.
- Marginson, S, Tytler, R, Freeman, B and Roberts, K. STEM: Country comparisons. International comparisons of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, final report, report for the Australian Council of Learned Academies, www.acola.org.au Melbourne: Australian Council of Learned Academies, 2013.
- Benchmarking Australian Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Canberra: Office of the Chief Scientist, Nov. 2014.
- Birrell, Bob. Too few or perhaps too many STEM graduates [online]. The Australian Universities’ Review, vol. 57, no. 2, 2015, pages 71-78. SLV library membership required to view this article