Introductions: There is growing recognition of the importance of human capital in shaping Australia’s future prosperity. A recent report for the Australian Council of Learned Academies claimed that building capacity particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is pivotal to competitiveness in the global economy.
Increasing the number of people with STEM qualifications has become a key focus of policy makers around the world. While a STEM education equips people with specific skills required for research and technical roles, it also fosters a range of generic skills, knowledge and ways of thinking that are relevant to a wide range of occupations. These include problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills, among others.
This article profiles the level and nature of Australia’s current stock of human capital in STEM and explores the range of occupations commonly held by STEM graduates. The article also looks at those with qualifications in the closely related field of Health.