With the breakneck pace of advancements in technology, it’s no surprise that there’s a high demand for qualified workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In large cities across the U.S., an average of 30 percent of the job openings are in STEM, but only 11 percent of the total population holds a STEM degree. In a 2012 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, economic forecasts indicated a need for roughly one million additional STEM college graduates than currently projected over the next ten years. Within these fields there is also a severe gender imbalance, with women making up a disproportionately small part of the workforce.
The gender wage gap between men and women in STEM fields (14 percent), however, is less dramatic than the overall workforce (21 percent), with women earning 33 percent more than similar women (in regard to age, region of residence and educational attainment) holding non-STEM jobs. Women are already enrolled in college at a higher rate than men [Population Reference Bureau], and some believe that women will be central in increasing the ranks of STEM professionals. By illustration, a research director at Microsoft, Rane Johnson-Stempson, says of her company’s efforts: “We needed to build a bridge to the future by getting girls excited in STEM early in their lives, and then keeping them engaged and supporting their learning all the way through their college education, internships, and into their careers.”
What exactly are companies doing to realize the increase in women in STEM? Some are holding free tech camps for young women, while others are making an effort to connect mentors with young professionals. For young girls, some engineers are creating toys meant to pique interest in science. This infographic provides some background on women in STEM today and what’s being done to remedy both the gender disparity and the shortage of workers.
The Need for More STEM Workers, Brookings, 2012 http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/the-avenue/posts/2012/06/01-science-oriented-society-rothwell
The Gender Gap in College Enrollment and Graduation, Population Reference Bureau, 2011 http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2011/gender-gap-in-education.aspx
Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation, Department of Commerce, 2012 http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/womeninstemagaptoinnovation8311.pdf
For a complete list of sources, please view the Infographic