STEM 4.5 Differing Motivations

If you asked someone which work values affected his or her career-related decisions, you might get a very different response from yours. The reason is that every person is likely to have different motivations and values, and a person’s priorities can change over time. In addition, race, class, and gender can often influence what an individual values in his or her career choice.

Just like you did, students choose careers that align with their personal work values, whether or not they identify those values. Therefore, it is important to highlight all of the benefits of STEM careers, taking care to relate to each work value.

For example, one of your students might want to ultimately change the world, but at his or her age feels money is most important. In order to most effectively attract students to a career in STEM, you would want to share with them both the social and extrinsic benefits of STEM.

In summary, when we communicate with students, it is important to recognize that there are different ways to position STEM careers. We want to attract their attention to STEM options and help them realize how appealing they are for students with any of the four key work values.

STEM careers are great for all people as they address all four work values: intrinsic, extrinsic, prestige, and social. The diversity of STEM careers ensures that students can find their interest and passion in the work they choose. Many roles in STEM allow for independence, are highly collaborative and make significant contributions to society. STEM careers are high paying and in high demand. Finally, STEM careers are prestigious and well respected. Therefore, STEM careers touch upon each of the four types of work values!

In the following pages, we will highlight some of the benefits of STEM careers as they relate to each of the four key work values.