According to a new survey of executives done by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry, a majority of executives believe that having women in STEM roles in their companies is likely to do great things for their company’s bottom line.
However, while 63% of the 913 responses indicated that the executive personally believed that having women in STEM roles would be good for the company, a much lower percentage (30%) indicated that it was not required of them to include female candidates in their recruiting process.
Overall, despite the optimism shared by many of the executives surveyed, the current statistics for women currently working in STEM fields remain underwhelming. According to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, 48% of the total U.S. workforce is women, but a disproportionate 26% of the STEM workforce is made up of women.
Despite the gap that remains, there is significant reason for optimism going forward. As a society, we are coming from a recent place where there were very few women in STEM fields at all. When you consider the uphill climb in that way, many of the recent achievements and growth in STEM by women are extremely impressive.
More than half of the executives surveyed (59%) reported that there were more women working in their organizations today than there were five years ago. And a similar number (58%) believed that making a special effort to recruit women into STEM roles would have positive business results.
What do you think about this survey? Ultimately, it may help for companies to make an effort to recruit women who excel in STEM fields, but to institute real change we need to start encouraging them earlier. Encouraging elementary and high school age girls to follow their interest in science and technology is the best way to narrow the gender gap in STEM.