Tech Week 2017 survey shows that majority of Irish adults now believe an education in STEM can lead to better career opportunities


Research carried out for Tech Week 2017 shows that the vast majority of Irish adults (89%) now believe that getting an education in STEM related subjects is important and can lead to better career opportunities in the future.

Tech Week 2017,  Ireland’s national festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public, takes place nationwide next week (22 – 28 April). Organised by the ICS Foundation, the social enterprise arm of the Irish Computer Society, Tech Week is supported by Science Foundation Ireland.

The survey was completed in March among 1,000 adults by Coyne Research for the Irish Computer Society. It asked people for their opinions about technology and the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in our education system.

  • 89% of respondents said an education in STEM related subjects is important and 87% said it can lead to better career opportunities in the future.
  • 73% said they’re excited about upcoming technological developments. Asked about their views, respondents said Digital Wallets, the Internet of Things, Drones and Self Driving Cars are the most likely technologies to dominate in the future, followed by virtual reality, e-consultation with GPs, artificial intelligence and robots.
  • Just under half of all adults (45%) said they have previously asked a child or teenager to help them with a new technology. This was highest among over 45’s, and females.
  • 4 out of 10 adults surveyed claimed to be somewhat concerned about technological advancements, rising to 50% of females and those aged 18 to 24 years.

Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society said: “This research is really encouraging as it shows that people are wide awake to the importance of technology, computer science and STEM studies for the younger generation of today.

“Interestingly, while the majority of people are excited by the possibilities presented by technology, half of the younger adults aged 18-24 and half of the female respondents expressed some nervousness around technological advancements. This may possibly be due to the current debate around the potential impacts of artificial intelligence and robotics on actual jobs in the future. What we’re saying to people is that STEM related studies will help you to improve and shape your future job prospects.”

“It’s also essential to ensure that we create awareness of the myriad of opportunities that exist for female students in technology related disciplines. This should also serve as a method of narrowing the gender gap within the sector and opening up new talent to employers while contributing to overall skills availability and economic competitiveness.

“Just over a decade ago, we didn’t imagine many of the jobs that now exist today through technology. Undoubtedly, there will be new job types and new career opportunities enabled by technology across every industry that you can think of in the future and that’s why people should embrace the opportunities presented through studies in related areas. Tech Week 2017 is a fantastic way for students all over Ireland to engage with technology, learn  about STEM related studies and make informed decisions on future career options as a result.”

Tech Week 2017 takes place all over Ireland from 22nd – 28th April and will see more than 100,000 students take part in a range of fun activities including the finals of national STEM competitions such as the Scratch Coding final in Limerick and the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge in Maynooth.