The STEM gap is a serious problem. The STEM Gap is a term that refers to the lack of women and people of color in the STEM fields. This is a real problem for the US because it has made it difficult for our country to compete in today’s global market.
Companies need to tackle the STEM gap and create a more inclusive environment. According to the Pew Research Center, Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce.
Here are two key steps any organization should take to create a more inclusive environment.
Make the Case For More Women in STEM
The United States has an urgent need for more people with STEM skills. Two-thirds of Americans who graduated with STEM degrees in the past five years were hired into non-STEM jobs due to a lack of opportunities in those fields. If you want your company to stay competitive, you must take steps to make your workforce as diverse as possible.
The STEM field is vital to the future of our world. Students need to participate in the STEM careers of today and tomorrow, but not all areas are open to all students. The lack of diversity in STEM fields is mainly due to a lack of awareness about what this career offers.
According to Çiğdem Kayali, Director of Cyber Security at Microsoft MEA, it is essential to create awareness about the industry during a student’s high school experience. When women are in college, it is often too late to introduce STEM. Making a case for more women in STEM means introducing career options in high school and middle school.
Create Resources for Building a More Inclusive Strategy
One of the most significant barriers to closing the gender gap in STEM is that many initiatives are not designed for diverse populations. To build a more inclusive strategy, it’s essential to start by understanding your target population. Once you know who you’re targeting, use these steps to learn about the best practices for reaching these audiences.
- Leverage training to improve the ability of all employees to recruit, hire, develop and retain women in STEM
- Implement a case study on disseminating gender-affirming practices across an organization’s workforce
- Create gender equity toolkits for undergraduate institutions to close the STEM gap, employers need to have a more inclusive strategy that does not exclude people from learning or working in STEM fields.
The most critical resource for building a more inclusive strategy is employers willing to make a long-term commitment to change. Organizations with a diversity and inclusion mission can be used as models for this commitment. Click here to watch the replay of the International Women in STEM conference.