Stem subjects top the career choice for Northern Ireland students

- BT survey reveals that 82% of students believe STEM subjects are likely to offer the best career opportunities 

Belfast, 13th August, 2014: As 14,000 students await their A-Level results tomorrow, a Northern Ireland survey has revealed that 82% of secondary school students believe that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects offer the best career opportunity. In addition the survey, which was commissioned by BT as organiser of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, also revealed that over 72% of secondary school students plan to study a STEM subject at third level.

Conducted through Facebook and Twitter and completed by respondents aged from 13 to 18 years, the survey also revealed that while 92% of students say that STEM subjects are promoted in their schools, 16% of respondents believe that boys receive more encouragement than girls to study these subjects.

Entrepreneurship and a career in technology also topped the list for respondents with 56% of students saying they would choose Mark Zuckerberg’s job. 28% of respondents said they would choose Barack Obama’s job, while the life of pop star Miley Cyrus received only 9% of votes.

It seems however, that these budding technology entrepreneurs have mixed views when it comes to their potential earnings. When asked how much money they expect to earn in their first year of full-time employment, the majority of respondents (56%) are expecting £12,001 - £24,000 per year, whilst an equal number of respondents (18%) expect to earn £24,001 - £35,750 and less than £12,000 in their first year at work.

Commenting on the survey, Mari Cahalane, Head of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, said, “As a company that is built on innovation, we see every day how ideas can be transformed into life-changing technologies. We truly believe that STEM subjects are critical in continuing Northern Ireland’s continued success as an innovative technology hub and it’s clear that our students feel the same.”

The 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from 7th -10th January 2015 and the closing date for entries is 1st October, 2014. There are over 120 awards to be won including the prestigious BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year which was won by Paul Clarke of St. Paul’s College, Raheny in January this year.

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is organised by BT Ireland, one of the country’s leading communications and networked IT service providers, and is supported by a number of valued partners including the Department of Education Northern Ireland and MATRIX. For more information on the exhibition and for details on how to enter, log onto www.btyoungscientist.com or follow the exhibition on Twitter @BTYSTE.


About the research
This research was commissioned by BT and driven online through the BTYSTE’s social media channels Facebook and Twitter. The research is a representative sample of 1,049 respondents aged from under 13 – 18 years and 32 counties across the island of Ireland. Fieldwork was conducted from 16th July – 8th August 2014.