Hiring women in STEM roles demonstrates an inclusive culture
There has always been a huge gender gap in STEM disciplines, especially in technology. At present, the fourth industrial revolution demands a change in this phenomenon, because the technological skills of the new era are gender-neutral and there is an urgent need for versatile people. Like many countries, the UK is also waking up to this new reality of lucrative apprenticeships being provided by companies to attract women to their STEM/tech roles.
Even in India, according to data from the online career platform for women “JobsForHer”, technology companies are hiring more and more women in similar roles.. Since there is a struggle for the right talent, tech-skilled women are in high demand.
Why does STEM need women?
The traditional career choice for women in India is NEET-UG3 against technology. Engineering continues to be preferred by men. This creates a gap at the grassroots level of the pipeline, like what we see in the UK.
The thing is that because the UK didn’t address its diversity issues in time (women only occupy around 8-10% of said positions) almost every year it now has a backlog of supply more than 36,000 engineers. But the more important question is why fewer women prefer STEM? There are three possible reasons a) The bias of STEM as a male domain b) The social fabric allowing women to take on greater challenges c) Lack of role models. In reality, these three reasons are linked. But it is commendable that efforts such as dedicated institutes that focus solely on hiring women in STEM the roles multiply.
How to attract women into the STEM/tech workforce
Although in all sincerity, real efforts will have to start early, in schools and in families, where girls must be encouraged to excel in studies as boys are. They should be made aware of the variety of STEM careers available, and if they show an inclination for the same, they should be offered full support. If you watch closely until female college students show greater interest in STEM subjects, they often outperform males, but interest wanes as they move on to graduate schools. Therefore, it is important that we start involving women at this point of departure. This will somehow solve the funnel gap.
When young people are ready to enter the job market, selections should be based not on the gender of candidates but on their abilities. This way, there is also no need for booking since biases are not allowed in the system, in the first place.
And given that women make up about 50% of the population, we can make a strong business case for raising more STEM-loving women, to provide a regular skilled supply to the work stream. But in order to retain this workforce, employers need to be differently aware of women’s priorities instead of thinking that all employees are the same.
Women are equal but different from men and bring productivity with a touch of their own creativity; therefore, they also have different roles in their families which may affect their work, they “feel” the office culture more clearly as values, etc. mean something to them. And all of this could make it difficult to continue his entrepreneurial journey. Therefore, for companies to retain them, different efforts will be required.
Changes needed to retain women
The first thing companies need to do is level the playing field, which means:
- Pay fairly and promote based on skills, not gender– Historically, women have settled for lower wages (generally, they earn 80 cents for every dollar a man spends), but all have wanted to earn equal pay for the work they do. And today, they won’t settle for anything less, and they will also look for companies that have a future plan for them full of promotions and other opportunities. Most women know the feeling of being passed over unfairly for a promotion; given the state of the market, companies that continue this trend could see all of their female employees move to places that value them.
Where they deserve it, women should also be offered opportunities to build their personal brand, such as being selected as company spokespersons, or being asked to represent the company at an event, or being recommended for training. of frame. These bends have always been reserved for men, but that doesn’t mean women can’t pull it off.
- Inclusive culture–In the contemporary world we live in, diversity goes beyond gender, generation and race. It’s in every employee. If we are able to make the culture inclusive enough, we ensure that everyone brings their authentic selves to work. This will automatically resolve the gender gap. When the points we have just discussed become intrinsic to the functioning of a company without too much effort, we can say that it has succeeded in changing its culture. And once that happens, women will stick around to thrive at work and help the company do the same.
- Secure leadership roles that drive modernization–Leadership is gender neutral and women are no exception to this from the day they are born. They know what they want to learn and after they do it, they successfully apply it, then challenge themselves to find more innovative ways to do the same. At Cytiva India, we have 16% female leaders and this is one of our biggest challenges. We are working to ensure more female leadership in management positions. We have formulated gender-balanced equal opportunity platforms to learn, perform and be promoted to leadership positions and periodically measure progress.
- Helps balance work-life dynamics–Women give 100% at work and then go home, and give 100% again at home. Therefore, they know how to juggle and do it very well. Sometimes they may need a fair hand – and if companies are willing to lend it, they gain an honest, loyal employee for life. To help balance life and work, we are rolling out benefits that address child and elder care. We also believe that the hybrid way of working can help adapt better than before.
Women are the lifeblood of most fields if allowed, and STEM, which requires quite a bit of innovation, needs it. Now is the time we let women know and welcome them into our folds with open arms.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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