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Reasons Why Students and Parents Choose STEM Careers

Harris Interactive conducted surveys to find the reasons why some students and parents choose STEM-related careers or courses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the next several years, more than 1 million jobs that require specialized technology skills will open up. There won’t be enough qualified college graduates to fill them, however.

Reasons Why Students and Parents Choose STEM Careers - Infographic


Harris Interactive conducted two surveys on behalf of Microsoft to understand the shortage of students that take science, technology, engineering and math related fields. One survey focused on parents with K-12 students; the other surveyed college students pursuing STEM degrees. The answer seems to vary by gender. Forty-nine percent of the female STEM students said it was to make a difference; 61 percent of male students said that games or toys in their childhoods sparked their interest. For 68 percent of the female respondents, a teacher or class got them interested in science, math, engineering or technology. Several students in the survey said they majored in STEM for work reasons: 68 percent mentioned good salaries, and 66 percent mentioned job potential. Meanwhile, 68 percent of those same students also said they majored in STEM because they found it stimulating and challenging. Harris Interactive asked parents about their perception of STEM education in K-12. The company found out that 93 percent of parents say STEM education should be a priority in the United States, and 49 percent believe it is treated as a priority. Moreover, 50 percent of them want to see their children enter careers in STEM, but only 24 percent said they were willing to spend extra money to make their kids successful in math and science classes.