WITI and 451 Research publish research on attracting and retaining women in STEM
Key findings include the importance of early STEM experiences, mentorship, opportunities for career advancement, competitive pay and continuous support from initial point of interest through academia and professional development.
Women in Technology International (WITI) and 451 Research today released the findings from their survey examining the impact of gender in the workplace for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Titled “Wanted: Women in STEM – An Exploration of Influential Factors, Their Professional Journey & Ways to Foster Change,” the survey of 1,100 WITI members found that early STEM exposure is crucial and a variety of support mechanisms are needed to achieve women’s goals in a predominantly male field. WITI members from around the word participated in the survey, although the majority of respondents were from the US. The full report is publicly available for free via the links below.
Key findings include:
- The value of providing impactful STEM experiences up to the age of 18, with 42% percent of respondents citing this as influencing their decision to follow a STEM career
- STEM exposure at home is limited given the percentage who had parents working in STEM: 49.5% father, 8% mother, 4.5% both, 38% neither – it is important for girls to find STEM experiences elsewhere via school and community
- The study revealed greater career satisfaction (67% vs 54%) for those having a professional mentor and almost one-third (30%) said mentorship programs directly helped their careers
- Women in STEM want career advancement yet only 13% are currently in leadership roles while 44% want to be in a leadership role
- Obstacles include the challenges of finding career advancement opportunities (62%); gender discrimination (44%); lack of salary awareness (50%); organizations unable to retain female talent (50% looking for new job); and women considering leaving STEM fields altogether (29%)
The report also provides recommendations for educational institutions, employers and communities to increase the number of women in STEM. Postsecondary institutions can provide early mentorship matchups for women in the critical freshman year. Employers and HR can offer specialized onboarding, quarterly performance planning and transparency regarding advancement and compensation. Communities can increase program availability, helping to encourage girls to have impactful STEM experiences.
“Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs in the US was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs”, according to the US Department of Commerce. In turn, organizations are challenged by the disproportion of supply and demand. Couple this with the bleak statistics on the under representation of women in STEM, including postsecondary degrees and current job positions, and we have a perfect storm resulting in a need to get more women in STEM, understand women’s choices better and support change to make it happen. “This report highlights some of the challenges faced by women in the STEM fields and tactical ways for employers and communities to address them,” said Michelle Bailey, SVP Digital Infrastructure and Data Initiatives, of 451 Research.
“WITI is committed to transforming the way companies think about attracting and retaining women in technology. WITI works with its partners to replace the ineffective, outdated programs that haven’t been working with successful strategic platforms and programs based on current research and surveys. We partnered with 451 Research on this project because of 451’s expertise in IT and survey research. The result is a comprehensive report that identifies the issues and proposes solutions that we believe will help increase the number of women choosing careers in STEM,” said Carolyn Leighton, Founder/Chairwoman of WITI.
To read the full report and view all survey data, go to: