Where Students Choose STEM Degrees [Infographic]

Graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM for short – are sought after globally, but are often in short supply. Many countries have tried to bolster enrollment in STEM to aid important growth industries like medtech, digital services, mobility or computer sciences. However, countries have had varying success, as data from UNESCO shows.

In general, countries that have managed to produce a higher share of STEM graduates than elsewhere are more likely to be found in the Arab world, in Eastern Europe and also in East Asia. Using the latest available data from 2020 through 2022, Malaysia saw the highest share of STEM graduates in all tertiary eduation degree recipients at 43.5%.

As seen in a report from Malaysia’s Malay Mail, the country is pushing even further, looking to improve its curriculums and increase the share of STEM students to as many as 60% in order to fulfill the future need for science, engineering and tech professionals it is anticipating. Neighboring Singapore is also reaching a high share of STEM graduates at 36.3% most recently. Both countries’ economies have been rated as highly competitive. While Malaysia has a well-developed electronics and IT products industry, Singapore—traditionally a banking and trading hub—has been aggressively growing its biotechnology sector.

Another groups of countries ranked higher on average than most nations for STEM education are those from the Arab world. Here, Tunisia reaches the highest score at 37.9% STEM graduates, while the share of these degree recipients is also upwards of 29% in Algeria, Mauretania and Morocco due to the prevalence of computer engineering in the region. The Arab Gulf—a place that has recently been pushing to innovate its economies—is also producing an above-average number of STEM grads in some places, namely the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Communist legacy in Europe

In Europe, Germany ranks highest at more than a third of graduates from science and tech fields. The country is well-known to be a stalwart in industries like automotive, nautical and mechanical engineering as well as electronic equipment and chemical products. The rest of Western Europe is not a STEM hotbed, however, with grads making up only 22.8% of degree recipient in the U.K., 25.9% in France and just 18.8% in the Netherlands. Eastern Europe fares better, with Belarus clocking 34.6% STEM graduates and Russia and Serbia also scoring above 30%. Several former communist countries in the region have upheld a commitment to STEM education, which was revered under socialism.

No matter the country though, male STEM students outnumber their females counterparts almost as a universal rule, while many countries with a high number of STEM graduates are also male-dominated societies. Nevertheless, both traditional STEM nations and those trying to bolster their STEM workforce can benefit from the involvement of more women in the disciplines—in the name of equal opportunity but also to simply satisfy the already immense need for science and tech professionals that is expected to grow only stronger.

Charted by Statista

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katharinabuchholz/2023/03/10/where-students-choose-stem-degrees-infographic/