Four in Five Australian Female STEM Graduates Take Less Than Six Months to Land Their First Job: Mastercard Girls in Tech Study

SYDNEY, 9 February 2017 – According to the second edition of the Mastercard Girls in Tech research, the study and subsequent pursuit of a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is not only satisfying, but an opportunity which enables graduates to land that first job quickly. Among Australian first job seekers who graduated with a STEM degree, 84 percent indicated that they took less than six months to land their first job and 63 percent of these graduates were very satisfied with the job options they had upon graduation. The results are based on interviews that took place in December 2016 with 2,270 girls aged 12-25, across six markets [1] in Asia Pacific.

Aside from job satisfaction and the ease of starting a career post-graduation, the research indicated that among STEM first job seekers there is a perception of longevity in career, with 61 percent of the Australian young women surveyed noting that they are likely to stay in STEM related fields for their entire career. Ample opportunities for learning, growth and advancement as well as passion for STEM were key factors listed by respondents for the staying power of STEM careers.

Yet while the benefits of the study of STEM as well as careers are obvious and persuasive for STEM graduates starting their careers, more can be done to encourage young girls studying subjects in the field to pursue a STEM career. Young Australian girls (12-19 years old) still continue to hold the perception that STEM subjects are difficult (51 percent, compared to 30% regionally), and that STEM careers are gender-biased, with two in five girls sharing that they believe girls are less likely to choose STEM subjects because of a perception that STEM jobs are male-dominated.

“The results of the research show us that STEM as a field of study and a career choice is one that is not only fulfilling, but it has the depth and breadth to satisfy first job seekers. While the results are encouraging, they highlight some deeply held misconceptions by young girls and young women with regard to the study and pursuit of STEM – and the imbalance,” said Karen Lee, Head of Strategy at Loyalty Solutions, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

“The study indicates there is a need to encourage girls to pursue STEM at school and provide those who are already studying with the opportunity to network with female professionals in the industry. Mastercard has a number of initiatives which aim to address this, including its sponsorship of the

recent Women in Payment Awards and 2017 Australian Women in Payment Symposium, in addition to our Girls4Tech education program – both aiming  to inspire, engage and cultivate an interest in STEM for those pursuing a career and interested in studying the subjects at a high school level,” said Lee.

The sentiment of the Australian research findings are echoed throughout the Asia Pacific Region, with China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore harnessing similar figures.

Key Australian research findings:

  • When asked what would attract girls to pursue STEM careers, young girls (17-19 years old) cited the challenge (42%), the ability to learn something new (35%) and job security (31%) influenced their decision.
  • STEM first jobbers felt that earlier exposure to STEM careers via networking opportunities (39 percent), talks given by STEM professionals (32%) and internships (30%) would have helped them prepare better for their current role.
  • Among STEM first jobbers who considered non-STEM jobs, greater job security (39%), more exciting and new work (36%) and matching interests (33%) were the top reasons cited for doing so.
  • 54% of STEM first jobbers believed that more males working in the industry was a determining factor influencing girls deciding not to choose STEM at school.
  • 50% believed that encouraging girls to take up STEM classes at school was seen as a way of attracting young women to join STEM careers. Parents remain the main influence on girls studying STEM, and knowing someone who is studying or working in STEM positively influences the decision to study STEM.
  • The majority of STEM graduates are working in a field that relates to their degree (80% in a STEM job) and decided on their current path during university – on average at 20 years old.
  • Female STEM jobbers are likely to be working in Computer and IT or in Healthcare and Medical.
  • Parents and teachers were the most influential, both during their job search and when deciding to go into STEM study.
  • Nearly half agreed that women are less likely than men to work in STEM because jobs tend have more males than females. Only 56% felt that STEM jobs are suitable for women.

The second edition of the Girls in Tech study by Mastercard has for the first time included first jobbers who are recent STEM graduates – in both STEM and non-STEM careers – in its survey pool, hoping to continue to use these insights to help its efforts in attracting more young girls and women to pursue STEM careers. The study adds to ongoing efforts in STEM by the company, complemented by its successful signature Girls4Tech education program, where employees are engaged as role models and mentors, to showcase Mastercard’s innovative payment technology and demonstrate the value of STEM-related subjects and careers through various exercises. The hands-on, inquiry based program was created by the company’s top engineers and technologists, and has in the past year rolled out to markets in Asia Pacific such as Australia, India, China and Singapore.

Methodology

The 2nd edition of the Mastercard ‘Girls in Tech’ research was conducted via an online survey with 2,270 girls aged 12-25 years old in six countries (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in Asia Pacific. This included 315 girls from Australia. The interviews were conducted in December 2016 with parental consent for minors.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardAP and @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contact: Saynaree Oudomvilay: soudomvilay@webershandwick.com P. +61 2 9994 4435

[1] Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. 315 girls from Australia participated in this study. The results in this press release are based on Australia-specific findings.