Deviation from STEM Peers and Employers in Employability Focuses: the Case of Maths, Stats, Physics and Astronomy Students

Serene Lin-Stephens, Maurizio Manuguerra, James Downes, Judith Dawes, Carolyn Kennett, John Uesi

Abstract


STEM employability is a non-homogenous phenomenon with mixed outcomes for graduates from different disciplines. A myriad of factors may contribute to the diverse employability. Here we examine the heterogeneity of career and employability development focuses among different STEM student cohorts in the curricular context. We utilised a structured framework of Career Information Literacy (CIL) to map career and employability focuses of STEM students and employers. This paper presents findings from the Mathematics, Statistics, Physics and Astronomy cohort.

Data was collected from final year capstone unit students at a STEM faculty in an Australian university (N=517, response rate 44%). Of which, Maths, Stats, Physics and Astronomy (MSPA) students were analysed as a cohort (N=80, response rate 73%). Concurrent data collection took place with STEM employers and industry stakeholders who engaged this faculty in recruitment and employability activities (N=62, response rate 78%). Upon comparing student cohorts’ focuses on career and employability development with their peers and employers, we found MSPA students differ from both their STEM peers and employers. Most other STEM student cohorts differ from employers, but not their peers. The implications point to a different career development need of this cohort to fully realise the benefits of their STEM education.

Keywords


Career information literacy; Employability; STEM education

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