Teenage boys' interest in STEM drops from 2017; girls' interest remains the same

High schoolers interested in careers related to science, technology, engineering and math — often referred to as "STEM" fields — may be shrinking, according to a joint survey by Junior Achievement USA and business management consultancy Ernst & Young.

The survey, conducted from February 27 to March 6, includes responses from a sample of 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17.

Twenty-four percent of boys indicated an interest in STEM-related careers in Junior Achievement and EY's 2018 survey, down from 36 percent of boys who said the same one year prior. The same proportion of girls — 11 percent — reported interest in a STEM career in 2017 and 2018.

"I was surprised to see a reduced interest in STEM careers, which are taking on larger and more important roles in the transformative age in which we are living," Gary Kozlowski, a partner at EY, said in a May 23 statement.

By contrast, career choices related to medical and public service sectors rose among teenagers in 2018.

Interest in medical and dental fields increased from 15 percent to 19 percent, with girls reporting more interest in these careers. Ten percent of teenagers expressed interest in public service, up from 7 percent in 2017.

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