A new study from the University of Melbourne has found that, contrary to popular belief, an engineering degree is not required for entry-level jobs in Australia.
The research also found that engineering graduates were more likely to enter the workforce as engineers than their peers.
A number of recent reports have revealed that the number of jobs that require a PhD is increasing and employers are increasingly looking to recruit engineers, in particular those with a particular interest in data analytics.
A post-doctoral position at the University in Sydney has recently attracted the attention of the Federal Government, which is working to increase the number and diversity of data scientists in the workforce.
“While we’ve seen a steady increase in the number, in terms of the number with degrees, the proportion of graduates with degrees has remained relatively steady,” Professor Andrew Gough from the Australian National University said.
“The problem is that the skills are often in the data science and analytics area.”
This is not the first time that the University has highlighted the growing importance of data science.
A report published in 2017 revealed that a staggering 65 per cent of the data scientists at the university were female.
This report also found a higher proportion of women than men were graduating with a degree.
However, the University is working on increasing the number at the undergraduate level.
This research was carried out in collaboration with a number of partners including the University’s Institute of Applied Mathematics, the National Centre for Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and the University Engineering Centre.
In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that there were more than 7.4 million students with a Bachelor of Science in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in Australia, with the highest concentration in the field of engineering.
In 2019, the total number of degrees earned by Australians aged 16 to 24 was around 2.9 million.
However in the same year, the number was down from 2.8 million in 2019.
The University of Sydney’s Dr Michelle Kuehn is a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science.
She said the research was a timely and important step in the direction of more women entering the workplace.
“As a society, we need to realise that women need to be better educated and better supported for careers that require the kind of skills that engineering requires,” Dr Kuehenn said.
“[They] are the ones who will be creating the data that drives the next generation of technology and innovation.”
The findings are reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology.