Making a Choice: Job Prospects Vs. PassionPosted: 8th of December 2014 by
Statistics have shown that there are far fewer people studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) than those who are taking humanities like history, English, and geography. However, there is also said to be a skills shortage in the UK when it comes to STEM subjects. This creates a situation where the government feels that more students should be talking science and maths at school to close the skills gap. Of course, this also means that, in theory at least, you are more likely to find work if you study STEM subjects than if you take humanities – it is all a matter of demand among employers. Of course, this is all fine in theory, but should you pay attention to these figures when it comes to choosing your options?
Advice that you will stand a better chance of landing a good job with a background in science and mathematics is all well and good, but it is a slightly dangerous line to tow, as it could lead some students towards failure should they ignore their passion to study subjects purely for the prospects they offer.
Such a personal decision is not one that should be totally determined by the needs of the nation. Sure, STEM educated students are needed to fill gaps in the job market, but the fact remains that if you are not inclined towards the sciences or maths, you are probably best staying clear of them. Struggling to keep up, and perhaps not getting the grades you could have achieved in another subject is only doing yourself a disservice, so you need to pay attention to your own skills and passions.
There is no doubting that the humanities are over-subscribed as compared to the sciences and maths, and so there is more competition for work among school and college leavers and graduates. So, in a purely statistical world, it would make sense to look elsewhere for your study if you were simply looking for which area offers the best employment prospects.
However, life does not work on simple, statistical terms, and no level of skills shortage in the workplace will make someone good at STEM subjects if they are not their cup of tea. Rather, students who feel pressured into going into these areas despite their personal inclinations may well find themselves struggling to get by.
It seems that the answer doesn’t lie in getting students to simply apply for STEM subjects, but in a more fundamental adjustment of how these subjects are taught and promoted to students. There has to be a reason why the humanities consistently prove to be more popular with students, and this is what needs to be addressed – rather than just trying to shoe-horn students into subjects that don’t suit them.
Rather than encouraging students into taking subjects to close the skills gap, it seems likely that such pressures will simply set up otherwise talented humanities students to fail in subjects that don’t suit them.
Of course, if you are totally on the fence between humanities and STEM, then your best choice for a career currently seems to be with the sciences. But you should not allow yourself to be pressured into getting into something that you will ultimately struggle to achieve in. While job prospects are always an important consideration, so are your passions, skills, and interests.
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