Survey Shows 15% National Decline in Teens Interested in STEM & Medical Careers

Released today, Junior Achievement (JA) and the ING U.S. Foundation’s 2013 Teens & Careers survey reveals a substantial national year-over-year decline in teens’ interest in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and medical-related fields. This is the 12th year the survey has been conducted. An executive summary of the 2013 Junior Achievement USA Teens & Career Survey is available here. In Denver, 42 (40 percent) of teens surveyed indicated an interest in those fields.

Nationally, almost half (46 percent) of all teens surveyed showed interest in pursuing either a STEM or medical-related job, yet there was a 15 percent decrease from last year’s data. Despite interest declining, the United States Department of Labor predicts employment opportunities in STEM careers will increase by 17 percent through 2018.

“It is crucial that we reinvigorate teens about pursuing opportunities in STEM and medical-related careers,” said Robin Wise, president and CEO of Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. “These fields drive our economy and innovation; they are not only high-growth career paths but also creative outlets where teens can apply their passions.”

The survey highlighted ‘passion’ and ‘area of interest’ as the number one factor guiding teens’ career choices. In order to spark interest among teens and build momentum for these growing fields, teens need assistance. They need mentors and programs that will help guide them through these major life decisions.

“It’s our role as parents, mentors, and advisors to work together to educate students about the many academic and career options they have in life,” said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING U.S. Foundation and senior vice president, ING U.S.’s Office of Corporate Responsibility. “Often, students don’t realize that the classes they take today can significantly shape the careers they build tomorrow—and possibly—their long-term financial security. With an emphasis on mentoring and practical skills-building, Junior Achievement’s financial literacy and work readiness programs can play an important role in setting students on a solid career path to future success.”

Junior Achievement offers volunteer-led programs for students in kindergarten through high school to provide them with hands-on learning experiences and invaluable role models. Junior Achievement volunteers share professional experiences with students, adding a real-world dimension to the programs. Its newest program, JA Career Success™, helps students identify their desired careers and better understand how to develop the skills necessary to achieve success. As part of the curriculum, students learn how to effectively conduct a job search, how best to respond to common interview questions and how positively building their personal brand can translate to a rewarding career.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly all (94 percent) of Denver-area teens surveyed are confident they will land their “dream” job at some point in their career but only 8 percent are pursuing an internship in their area of interest.
  • Only 7 percent of Denver-area teens said that making a lot of money was the most appealing thing about their dream job. More than 30 percent said the most appealing thing about their dream job is that they would be good at it and 30 percent said it would be fun.
  • 68 percent of local teens think that they will need at least 4 years of college to get their dream job and 47 percent of teens are financially contributing in preparation of paying for college.

An executive summary of the 2013 Junior Achievement USA Teens & Career Survey is available here.  View the infographic here.

This report presents the findings of a study conducted Feb. 5-15, 2013, using the KnowledgePanel to interview 1,025 teens ages 14-18 years old. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The local results reflected herein are from an online survey of 104 teens conducted during January and February 2013.


About ING U.S.

ING U.S. (NYSE: VOYA), which plans to rebrand in the future as Voya Financial, is a premier retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today – retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, ING U.S. provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, ING U.S. is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible – one person, one family and one institution at a time. For more information, visit

About the ING U.S. Foundation
The ING U.S. Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING U.S. operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit