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Global study finds interest in STEM careers, but misconceptions and price barriers exist.

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Job seekers, students, and career changers around the world want to pursue roles related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) across different industries, but say they are not familiar with career options. 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.

These were some of the global findings from a new study that unveiled recently. 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.

Study Shows Misconceptions and Opportunities in Tech and Beyond

The IBM / Morning Consult study revealed perceptions from interviewed students, career changers, and job seekers who are interested in a role in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM):

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.

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.

  • 66% of all respondents think that STEM jobs across industries will increase over the next decade.
  • 86% of those respondents who have earned a digital credential agree that it helped them achieve career goals.
  • 75% of all respondents agree that digital credentials are a good way to supplement traditional education.
  • Increased career opportunities and qualifications were the top reasons why respondents across the globe said they wanted to earn digital credentials.

*Methodology: This study was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM from November 2 – December 20, 2022. The study was conducted among a sample of 4,926 Students, 4,629 Job Seekers, and 4,628 Career Changers in 13 countries (Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, UAE, UK, and the US).

Explore job roles and learning pathways on IBM SkillsBuild for FREE

Through a holistic approach to investing in the future of work, IBM is supporting learners and helping tackle their misconceptions about technology and STEM careers. IBM SkillsBuild is bringing free technology training available to learners all over the world, with a focus on underrepresented communities in tech. Explore the IBM SkillsBuild  course catalog to find the job role or learning pathway that makes sense for you. Learn more about the job role, see available courses and digital credentials, and start gaining skills.

  1. IT Support Technician: There are over 14 billion devices connected to the internet around the world, and IT technicians provide crucial support to keep them running safely and smoothly each day. On this learning path, gain critical skills in IT support, like technical troubleshooting and issue resolution. Start learning here
  2. Web Developer: Over five billion people are active internet users—more than 60% of the world’s population. This increase has catalyzed a global digital transition and transformed life as we know it. Through this learning path, you will gain the skills to build websites for businesses around the world. Start learning here
  3. Cybersecurity Analyst : As businesses, institutions, and governments adapt to a fast-paced global market, threat actors are adopting new tactics to infiltrate organizations. On this learning path, gain core skills for threat intelligence, including network security, incident response, and cybersecurity tools. Start learning here
  4. Data Analyst: To thrive, companies must leverage data to understand trends, predict outcomes, and innovate. Data analysts are instrumental to helping companies achieve this. On this learning path, gain skills and apply analytic tools to analyze data, predict outcomes, and visualize results professionally. Start learning here

Ready to land a job you’ll love?

Sign up for IBM SkillsBuild today and get the learning and resources you need to help you prepare for a job in tech, all for free!


About IBM SkillsBuild 

IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities in tech, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners.

The open version of IBM SkillsBuild is an online platform that offers over 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and many other technical disciplines — as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most important, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market.

The enhanced partner version of IBM SkillsBuild may also include workshops, expert conversations with IBM coaches and mentors, project-based learning, access to IBM software, specialized support from partners through the learning process, and connection to career opportunities.

Additional Resources

  • Read the complete findings from IBM Global Skills and Education Study here
  • Individual country reports are available here
  • IBM Credential page here


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