Our report The World in 2050 warns that Australia stands to lose its place in the world economy without a fresh focus on education, particularly within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects).

Currently the 19th largest economy in the world, PwC has predicted that without investment in skills and a move away from resources, Australia could slip to 29th position by 2050. “Leaders across business, government and the community need to understand we are on a slippery slope to irrelevance,” warns PwC Australia Economist Jeremy Thorpe.

The decline in the number of skilled, ready-to-work STEM graduates was also identified as being an innovation bottleneck for Australian businesses in our research on digital innovation.

“A lack of skilled people is cited as the number one barrier to innovation. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are the core educational competencies needed for an economically productive future,” said Trent Lund. “In addition to building STEM skills we need to provide more opportunities for not just graduates but tertiary, secondary and even primary school age students to engage with businesses and learn commercial skills by working on commercial problems.”

This week’s infographic takes a look at the importance of STEM education and its anticipated effect on an individual’s future earnings. Though based on US statistics, it shows the world ranking at the end of 2013, in which Australia sits in 13th place.

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