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Which Countries Give Out The Most Stem Degrees?

A five-year plan put out by the government in 2019 says that by 2025, the U.S. will need to fill almost 3.5 million jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In June 2019, there were millions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs in the United States that were not filled. In its five-year plan, the federal government wanted to improve STEM education so that it could fill these jobs and compete with workers from around the world who already had STEM bachelor’s degrees.

College Ave Student Loans used information from the National Center for Education Statistics to make a list of the countries that gave out the most bachelor’s degrees in STEM in 2019. Only the 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are included in the data shown here. The United States, South Korea, and Portugal are some of these countries. India and Russia are not OECD countries, so they are not on this list. However, 33% and 29% of all degrees in those countries are in STEM fields. In the United States, 22.3% of bachelor’s degrees are in STEM fields.

The STEM degrees data set includes bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, but this article only talks about the percentage of bachelor’s degrees given by field of study, level of degree, and country. The average number of STEM bachelor’s degrees in the OECD is 23.4%. Germany has the most STEM bachelor’s degrees, with 37.4%, and Norway has the least, with 14.4%.

The STEM bachelor’s degrees that are given out the most are in the fields of engineering, manufacturing, and construction (13.5%), natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics (5.5%), and information and communication technologies (4.5%).

Read on to find out more about the countries that give out the most bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields.

15. Switzerland

24% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 4% for natural sciences, math, and statistics (15th among OECD countries)
  • Technology for information and communication: 3.1% (31st)
  • 17.2%: Engineering, making things, and building things (10th)

Switzerland is one of the most innovative and competitive research countries in the world when it comes to science. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is also ranked fourth in Europe and 22nd in the whole world. A lot of Swiss research is done in the natural sciences, with a focus on projects that help the environment, physics, and space research. In the corporate sector of the country, the metal industry, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and technology, which includes the electrical industry, are all important scientific fields.

As of 2017, less than a quarter (22%) of STEM graduates in Switzerland were women. This was lower than in any other OECD country: 26% in Germany, 28% in Austria, 32% in France, and 40% in Italy.

14. Czech Republic

STEM bachelor’s degrees make up 25% of all bachelor’s degrees.

  1. 5.6% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (14th)
  2. 5.6% are related to information and communication technologies (8th)
  3. Engineering, making stuff, and building: 13.7% (17th)

According to a 2017 OECD study, STEM degrees are popular in the Czech Republic because engineering is so popular. Engineering is much more popular than ICT and the natural sciences.

In 2015, 20% of Czech adults had tertiary education and worked as engineers. This was more than the average for the OECD, which was 17%, and the average for the EU22, which was 18%. One reason for this is that engineers have a better chance of getting a job in the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic in 2016, 92% of people with a college degree in information and communication technologies were working, and 91% of people with a college degree in engineering, manufacturing, or construction were working. Both of these were higher than the average for engineering, manufacturing, and construction in OECD countries, which was 87%, and the average for information and communications technologies, which was 88%.

In the Czech Republic, men are still much more likely to study engineering than women.

13. Estonia

STEM bachelor’s degrees make up 25% of all bachelor’s degrees.

  • 5.7% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (13th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 7.4% (4th)
  • Engineering, making things, and building: 12.0% (22nd)

A study from 2019 by the Institute of Baltic Studies and HeiVal Consulting found that between 2013 and 2018, the STEM field in Estonia got better, and that STEM became more popular and had a better reputation.

A 2014 report from researchers at Deloitte also says that the Estonian government has used national strategies to improve its research and development goals. Some of these strategies are to train the number of researchers needed to reach these goals and to make sure that working conditions in its public research institutions are appealing. Also, Kalli Kulla, who is in charge of marketing and communications at Tuum, says that Estonia has a good education system, especially in IT and communications.

In 2019, 26% of new engineering, manufacturing, and construction program applicants were women, and 25% of new information and communication technology program applicants were women. This is compared to 88% of new education field applicants who were women.

12. Canada

STEM bachelor’s degrees make up 25% of all bachelor’s degrees.

  • 12.4%: Natural sciences, math, and statistics (12th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 3.9% (25th)
  • 9.1%: Engineering, making things, and building things (31st)

Statistics Canada did a census in 2016 of immigrant and Canadian-born students between 25 and 34 with a bachelor’s degree in STEM. They found that students with a STEM degree earned more than those with a degree in the arts, education, social science, business, health, or the humanities. This study also found that STEM graduates were more likely to get jobs than those who didn’t study science, technology, engineering, or math. It’s also important to know that international students in Canada have a better chance of becoming citizens if they get degrees and work experience in the STEM fields.

As of 2019, Canadian women were also less likely to go into STEM fields and more likely to leave them. In 2019, about one-third of all STEM degrees earned after high school were by women.

11. Hungary

26% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 3.3% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (11th)
  • 6.2% are related to information and communication technologies (7th)
  • 16.4%: Engineering, making things, and building things (12th)

A 2017 OECD report says that young adults are less interested in STEM fields, even though these fields make people more employable. In Hungary, the rate of employment in STEM fields was 89%, which was higher than the rate of employment for college graduates, which was 85%. 94% of college graduates with a degree in information and communication technologies had jobs, but only 82% of college graduates with a degree in education did.

As of 2019, Hungary was the country in the European Union with the fewest female engineers and scientists. There were about 250,000 engineers and scientists in the country, but only about 7,000 of them were women.

10. Mexico

27% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 2.4% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (10th)
  • Information and communication technology: 5% (12th)
  • 19.5%: Engineering, making things, and building things (5th)

In 2016, more and more Mexican students were interested in studying science-related subjects. In the same year, 25% of Mexicans aged 25 to 64 with a college degree had a degree in one of the STEM fields. This was the same as the average across OECD countries.

In 2015, 32% of new college students chose fields in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This shows that people’s interests have changed. This share was in the top four for OECD countries, and it was more than the average of 27% for OECD countries. This new trend in education was reflected in the employment rates of graduates in STEM fields like engineering, manufacturing, construction, and information and communication technologies. These rates were higher than those for graduates in law, administration, and business.

But the employment rate for people who had studied natural sciences, math, and statistics was 75%, which was lower than the rates for other STEM fields. In 2015, 32% of new STEM college students in Mexico were women. This was a little bit higher than the OECD average of 27%.

9. Slovenia

27% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 6.6% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (9th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 4.5% (18th)
  • 16.4%: Engineering, making things, and building things (13th)

In Slovenia, 32% of new students in 2015 chose to study in a STEM field. This was more than the OECD average of 27%. Most of these new students, 21%, chose to study engineering, manufacturing, and construction. Then, 6% chose to study natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics, and 5% chose to study information and communication technologies.

In 2016, 90% of engineering, manufacturing, and construction graduates were working, which was much higher than Slovenia’s average. Graduates who had studied natural sciences, math, and statistics had a 69% chance of getting a job, while those who had studied information and communication technologies had a 66% chance.

In 2019, 16% of new students in information and communication technology programs were women. In engineering, manufacturing, and construction programs, 23% of new students were women. In education, on the other hand, 86% of new students were women.

8. Irish

28% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 9.4% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (8th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 7.9% (1st)
  • Engineering, making stuff, and building: 10.7% (28th)

Ireland’s engineering and manufacturing industries offer a wide range of STEM jobs. In 2020, there were more than 250,000 people working in manufacturing in Ireland, and eight of the top ten companies in the industrial automation industry were based there.

Also, the manufacturing and supply chain made up 32% of Ireland’s GDP, which was a lot more than the average of 15% in Europe. All of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies were started in Ireland and employed more than 30,000 people. Also, 14 of the top 15 medical engineering companies were started in Ireland and employed more than 20,000 people.

In 2019, 26% of the new people who started working in engineering, manufacturing, and construction were women, and 20% of the new people who started working in information and communication technologies were women. Compared to that, 72% of new people who went into the education field were women.

7. Finland

28% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 3.1% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (7th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 7.4% (3rd)
  • Engineering, making stuff, and building: 17.4% (8th)

According to an OECD report from 2017, both international and Finnish students were interested in science-related programs. Also, 29% of students studied in a STEM field, which was higher than the average of 25% for OECD countries. Also, 33% of new students to tertiary education in 2015 chose a STEM field, which is higher than the average of 27% in the OECD. Information and communication technology programs were especially appealing to international students in Finland. 17% of them were enrolled in these programs, which is more than the average of 6% for the OECD.

In Finland, 26% of the new entrants in engineering, manufacturing, and construction in 2019 were women, and 20% of the new entrants in information and communication technologies were women. These numbers are much lower than the 82% of women who started working in education for the first time.

6. Turkey

28% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 7.6% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (6th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 3% (32nd)
  • Engineering, making stuff, and building: 17.8% (7th)

Between 2012 and 2016, Greece spent 0.99% of its GDP on research, up from 0.08% in 2012. In 2017, the OECD released a report that said the employment rate for tertiary STEM graduates was between 71% and 72%. This is just a little bit higher than the overall tertiary graduate employment rate in Greece, which is 70%. These percentages are also lower than the average for OECD countries, which ranges from 83% to 88% for natural sciences, mathematics, statistics, and information and communication technologies, respectively.

In 2012, the OECD looked at how many women in each country chose to study natural sciences and engineering in college. Greece came in second, just behind Italy, in terms of the number of women who did this. 44% of students in these fields were women, while the average for the OECD was 34%. But in 2019, 33% of new entrants in engineering, manufacturing, and construction were women, and 30% of new entrants in information and communication technologies were women. Meanwhile, 82% of new entrants in education were women.

5.Autriche

29% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 9 percent: Natural sciences, math, and statistics (5th)
  • 5.1% are related to information and communication technologies (10th)
  • 14.5%: Engineering, making things, and building things (15th)

As of March 2014, Austria, Sweden, and Hungary were all having trouble finding people with STEM skills to work there. In 2017, the OECD released a report that said the employment rate for STEM fields was just above 86%, with the average employment rate for STEM fields in OECD countries being 84%.

In 2019, 18% of the new people entering the field of information and communication technology were women. 23% of the new people who went into engineering, manufacturing, and construction were women. In the education field, on the other hand, 78% of newcomers were women.

4. Lithuania

29% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 3.8% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (4th)
  • Technology for information and communication: 4.4% (20th)
  • Engineering, making stuff, and building: 21.1% (3rd)

In terms of revenue, the biotechnology industry in Lithuania grew by almost 87% by 2020. From 2011 to 2016, the life business industry in Lithuania grew by an average of 22.1% each year. In 2019, the World Economic Forum also said that Lithuania was the best place in Eastern and Central Europe for research and development. According to a report from the OECD that came out in 2017, Lithuania had the highest employment rates for adults with tertiary education who had studied health and business STEM fields. In 2016, these fields had employment rates of more than 91%.

In 2019, 14% of new students studying information and communication technologies were women, and 23% of new students studying engineering, manufacturing, and construction were women. When you look at the fact that 86% of new students in education are women, this difference between men and women becomes clearer.

3. Great Britain

29% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 16.7%: Natural sciences, math, and statistics (3rd)
  • Technology for information and communication: 4.3% (22nd)
  • 8.4%: Engineering, making things, and building (33rd)

From 2011 to 2021, more university students in the United Kingdom took STEM courses. For example, the number of students who wanted to take artificial intelligence courses at the university level rose by 400%. Also, the number of students taking computer science classes rose by almost 50% between 2011 and 2020, and the number of engineering students rose by 21%.

In 2017, the OECD released a report that said the percentage of tertiary students in the UK who went into the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics was the highest of all OECD countries. However, when it came to engineering, manufacturing, and construction, the UK had one of the lowest percentages.

In 2019, 25% of new engineering, manufacturing, and construction degree students in the UK were women, and 21% of new information and communication technology degree students were women. When compared to the 78% of new students who were women, this was a big difference.

2. Korea, South

31% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 5.8% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (2nd)
  • Technology for information and communication: 4.9% (13th)
  • Engineering, making stuff, and building: 20.7% (4th)

In the 1990s, South Korea made it easier for STEM to grow and improve. More recently, the South Korean government has spent more on research and development. These changes have been helped by a strong STEM education system. Because of this, South Korea has high enrollment rates, more schools for students who are good at science, and more students who want to work in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields after they graduate.

As of April 2020, South Korean and Chinese universities were ranked among the top 500 in the world. This was made possible by more money from the government and a focus on developing research programs in STEM fields. To do this, South Korea improved its research infrastructure, gave graduate students scholarships and stipends, and put $1.2 billion into specific university programs, with 62% of its research funding for top universities going to STEM fields.

But it’s important to note that, like many of the other countries on this list, there was a difference between men and women in 2019 when it came to new engineering, manufacturing, and construction program entrants (21% women) and new information, communication, and technology program entrants (27% women).

1. Germany

37% of bachelor’s degrees are in a STEM field.

  • 4.9% in natural sciences, math, and statistics (1st)
  • Technology for information and communication: 4.7% (14th)
  • 27.8%: Engineering, making things, and building things (1st)

A 2017 OECD report showed that Germany has a strong focus on technology, since 37% of recent college graduates had studied STEM there. In 2016, 90% of STEM jobs were filled, which was just above the average employment rate in Germany. In 2020, Germany was first in the world when it came to the popularity of STEM subjects. This was good for Germany’s engineering industry, which had been worried in recent years that young people weren’t interested in technical subjects.

In 2019, there were also clear differences between men and women in some STEM fields in Germany. For example, 23% of new students in information and communication technology were women, and 21% of new students in engineering, manufacturing, and construction were women. This was in contrast to the fact that 79% of new people who went into the education field were women.

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