Eight in Ten Female First-Jobbers in Singapore Pursue a Career in STEM: Mastercard Research

February 15, 2018 | SINGAPORE

Study shows that first-jobbers with a science, technology, engineering or math-related degree are likely to work in the same field

Three in four STEM majors land their first job within six months after graduation

Mastercard has released the findings from the third edition of its STEM research, which explores the factors that encourage or dissuade girls and young women from pursuing paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

In Singapore, findings have revealed that enthusiasm for STEM starts early among teenage girls (15 to 19 year-old), with more than half (54%) currently pursuing a STEM education. Further to that, seven in ten teenage girls intend to progress this to higher education.

The study also shows that 86% of first-jobbers (STEM and non-STEM majors) made up their mind to pursue a career in STEM at 20 years old, while first-jobbers in non-STEM roles took a year longer to decide on their career paths and are more likely to be working in administration and finance.

Although a majority of female first-jobbers are currently in STEM roles, satisfaction is rather low among both STEM and non-STEM jobbers, at 30% and 22% respectively. However, 66% of female first-jobbers were likely to remain in STEM throughout their careers.

Despite an overall interest in the subject, perceptions of gender bias continue to discourage young women from embarking on a STEM path. 41% of teenage girls expressed that girls are less likely to pursue STEM-related jobs because of its strong male presence. This sentiment was echoed by first-jobbers, who felt that women are generally less interested in STEM than men (44%).

Deborah Heng, Country Manager, Mastercard Singapore, said, “While many teenage girls are interested in pursuing a path in STEM, catalyzing and cultivating their passion requires an early start. The findings from our latest STEM research are encouraging, however, more can be done to attract girls and women to this field, especially in changing perceptions of gender bias in STEM. We can help nurture the next generation of female scientists, technologists and designers if we actively support all aspects of women’s career trajectory, from education to career ascension.”

Seeking to change these perceptions, Mastercard has rolled out a series of comprehensive research assets and education outreach initiatives aimed at sparking and sustaining an interest in STEM amongst young girls. One such program is Girls4Tech - a hands-on, inquiry-based program, organized in partnership with the Singapore Committee for UN Women, aimed at empowering more than 13,000 girls by 2018 through educational activities in the areas of coding, engineering, cryptology and urban development.

Since its launch in 2014, Girls4Tech has impacted more than 30,000 girls across 17 countries, as part of Mastercard’s global commitment to reach 200,000 girls by 2020. As part of the program, Mastercard employees will guide participants through an experiential STEM-based curriculum, where they apply their own special skills, as well as math and science concepts they’re learning in school to solve real-life challenges.

Mastercard has also partnered with various organizations and universities across Asia Pacific to offer scholarships and internships for young women, including the Mastercard Scholarship for Women at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Mastercard MBA Scholarships for Women at Singapore Management University (SMU).

Singapore Key findings:

    • When asked what would attract young girls to pursue STEM careers, parental encouragement (40%) is paramount.
    • However, active academic support and visibility of success are key to sustaining this passion. Internship programs (23%), female STEM role models (18%) and scholarships (16%) are critical motivators.
    • Opportunities for industry exposure is key to encouraging young women’s pursuit of STEM careers. First-jobbers believe that practical career support such as networking opportunities (49%) and mentoring programs (39%) would have helped them prepare better for their current role.
    • However, gender is still a key factor when choosing to pursue a career in STEM. Amongst first-jobbers surveyed, 48% believe that women are generally less interested in STEM, while 45% believe that STEM jobs tend to have more males than females working in them.
    • More can be done to attract the next generation of women in STEM. More than one-third of non-STEM first-jobbers (78%) have considered a career in STEM because of its rewarding challenges (64%), always able to learn something new (50%) and opportunities for growth and career advancement (43%).


The third edition of the Mastercard ‘Girls in Tech’ research was conducted via an online survey with 2,426 girls aged 12-25 years old in six countries (Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in Asia Pacific. The interviews were conducted in November and December 2017 with parental consent for minors.

About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardAP, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Communications Contacts
Ernest Lee, +65 6825 8027, elee@werbershandwick.com
Celina Lim, +65 6825 8075, celim@webershandwick.com