Companies that want to increase profits should work to increase the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) roles, according to a new executive survey.
Futurestep division of Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), the preeminent global people and organisational advisory firm, found that 63 per cent of executives said having more women in STEM careers would have a “great impact” on their company’s bottom line.
However, less than one-third (30 percent) of respondents say their organisations either often or always require there be at least one female candidate as part of the process for hiring STEM employees.
Joanne Cumper, Managing Consultant Digital, EMEA, Futurestep, said: “Clients who understand the positive cultural and financial impact of having women in STEM roles often require that women candidates be included in the recruiting mix.
“This doesn’t mean that the women will get preferential treatment, it simply helps create a diverse pool from which to choose.”
Statistics point to a significant under-representation of women in STEM careers. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), women comprise 69 percent of the UK workforce, but just 13 percent of STEM work force is made up of women.
In the Futurestep survey, nearly 1,000 respondents said STEM careers are being considered by less than a quarter of the high school girls and college women they know (e.g. children, grandchildren, children of friends/colleagues).
Cumper added: “There are many reasons why today’s companies have a low percentage of female STEM workers, including the fact that fewer young women than young men are choosing this field as their college major and profession. The silver lining though, is that we do see a slow but positive trend for more women in these roles.”
More than half of respondents (59 percent) said there are more women in STEM careers in their organisation than five years ago. In addition, 58 percent said having an employee referral program targeted toward women STEM recruits would have a great impact on finding qualified candidates.
“We see that companies that make diversity efforts core to their recruiting and retention strategies have a better chance of attracting and keeping the most dedicated, engaged and productive employees.
“It’s no surprise that our survey respondents say that they expect having more women STEM employees will have a positive impact on financial performance,” said Cumper.