Foster innovation in the educational systems, in recent years, focuses on strengthening the fields known as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), which encompass the fields related to the natural Sciences, Statistics and Technologies of information and communication Engineering, industrial production, and construction. These areas are also seen as engines of economic growth. Governments are developing programs that improve and encourage these learning in the population. Among adults with tertiary education in OECD countries, an average of 25% have studied in STEM field.
However, there are major differences between countries. Spain has around 30% of adults with tertiary studies, values above that of the OECD countries (25%) and the UE22 (27%). Mexico and Chile are in the OECD environment with 26% and 24% respectively, in Costa Rica this percentage represents 16%. These data contrast when the desagregamos in the tertiary studies of the population if we look at the percentages of adults with tertiary studies linked with the Technologies of the information and communication given that all the countries represented in the graph have a higher percentage than the OECD and the EU, in both a 4%, with Mexico and Costa Rica with a 7% and 6% respectively, and Portugal, with only 2%, which shows that the measures of educational policy related to these disciplines are working in a positive way, motivating the population towards these studies, achieving percentages in some cases that almost double the OECD average.
What are the areas in which the population first enrol in tertiary education?
The interests in the fields of study of the population are variable in the different countries, although all of them show a majority tendency in fields such as Business Sciences, administration and law, followed by engineering, industrial production and construction being the rest of the fields more or less balanced in all the countries analyzed. The high percentage of the field of services in Chile (11.7%) stands out compared to others such as Mexico (1.3%). There is also some variation in the field of information and Communication Technologies, which varies from 6.2% in Colombia and 5% in Spain compared to 1.8% in Mexico and Portugal. The field of Education is shown with a choice of 6-9% in the countries analysed, Spain being the country in whose population chooses 11% tertiary studies linked to education.
If we analyze by gender the trend of enrolment in tertiary education of women is related mainly with the field of Education, being the percentage of new entered in this field, on average in both the OECD and the UE22 78 – 79% women, this same percentage is given in Spain, Portugal and Chile, being somewhat lower in Mexico. The percentage of Colombia stands out, which is only 66%. The next area of interest is health and well-being, where women represent values of around 75 per cent. However, in the field of the study of information and communication technologies, values are reversed, since men are the majority among those admitted for the first time. Women in these fields represent from 10% of Chile to 28% of Mexico. In this field, the OECD and the EU account for 19% and 17% respectively, being this field of study which shows a greater difference with respect to the average of the OECD and the UE22.
The data show that women are underrepresented in the field of study in STEM, especially in Technologies of information and communication technology (ICT) and Engineering, manufacturing and construction. However, women are over-represented in the fields of Health and well-being and education.
What are the fields of study where the largest number of students in tertiary education graduate?
The field of study where the largest number of students graduate corresponds to the predilections that were also observed in the previous section, is that of Business Sciences, administration and law, ranging from 19% of Spain and Portugal to 45% and 39% of Colombia and Costa Rica respectively. The values for the OECD (24%) and the UE22 (24%) show a high variability between the participating countries, as well as in relation to the average. Secondly, if we look at OECD and EU data, the fields with the highest number of graduates that follow are the fields of Health and welfare (15%) and Industrial Engineering and production and construction, showing in these fields different differences between the countries analysed. The fact that stands out for the low percentage in all the countries analyzed in this report is in Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary sciences (between 1% and 2%) and the Technologies of information and communication (4% for both Spain and Costa Rica, coinciding with the OECD and the UE22), only exceeds Colombia (5%), compared with 1% of Portugal.
In most countries, studies related to natural sciences, ICT, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM fields), are less attractive. In almost two-thirds of the OECD countries and the associated countries, the proportion of students graduating in each of the fields of natural Sciences, mathematics and statistics, Engineering, production and industrial building construction and in information Technology and communication remains lower than the proportion of students who graduate in business Sciences, management and law. The proportion of students graduating in each of the aggregate in the STEM fields is similar to that of the OECD and of the UE22, a 24%. These graduations remain low if they relate to the proportion of students graduating in Business, Administration and law Sciences and have significant differences with some countries with differences of up to 11 points in Costa Rica or 8 in Brazil, below the average. Mexico and Portugal present 4 points above the average, but in both cases by the high percentage of graduates in engineering, industrial production and construction, presenting these two countries the lowest percentages in Information and Communication Technology.
The biggest differences between the international averages, in addition to the field of Business, Administration and law, are in the field of Education, ranging from 7% in Portugal to 22% in Costa Rica, with the percentage of graduates for the first time in 2015 in this field being 10% in the OECD and the EU22.
What is the employment rate of the population 25 to 64 years with Tertiary Education, by field of study?
Tertiary graduates in ICT achieved employment rates higher, in the average of the OECD and of the UE22 and the same thing happens in all the countries reflected in the study least in Spain, with 2 points of difference in the field of Health and well-being surpasses the employability of graduates in tertiary education in ICT, which is the second field of greater employability in this country.