Berlin Bad news for the German economy, which is desperately looking for specialists in the fields of mathematics, IT, natural sciences and technology (MINT): The number of first-year students in these subjects has fallen significantly, despite very good job prospects. In the academic year 2021, around 307,000 students chose one of the STEM subjects in their first semester. That was 6.5 percent less than in 2020, as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Monday.
The number of students in MINT subjects also fell in the 2021/22 winter semester for the first time since 2007. At 1.09 million, it was 1.0 percent lower than in the previous winter semester.
According to the information, this decrease is related to the fact that the number of first-year students has been falling overall since 2019: in 2021 it was four percent lower than in the previous year. At the same time, in Germany the number of 17 to 22 year olds decreased. In addition, as a result of the corona pandemic, the number of foreigners who came to Germany to study.
At the same time, however, the proportion of those who opt for MINT subjects in the first semester is falling: in 2021 it was 37.7 percent. In 2015 it was still 40.5 percent – that was the previous high.
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Women are still less likely to choose to study STEM subjects than men. Over the years, however, the proportion of women among first-year students in the MINT field has increased: while it was 30.8 percent in 2001, by 2021 it was already 34.5 percent. There are major differences between the various subjects: the highest proportion of women in 2021 was in interior design (88.2 percent), and the lowest in steel construction (2.2 percent). In computer science it was 21.8 percent.
Despite Economic downturn as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine there is a growing shortage of workers in the STEM professions in Germany Math, computer science, natural sciences and technology. According to calculations by the employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW), more than 326,000 people were missing in October 2022 to fill all the vacancies. This is well above the October figure of 263,000 in 2019 before the outbreak of the corona pandemic.