Young girls and women are less likely than their male counterparts to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. In fact, just 24% of women work in STEM fields. The good news is that women in STEM careers earn 92 cents for every dollar their male-STEM counterparts earn versus 75 cents in other fields. What’s more, 80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills.
I am passionately committed to developing the next generation of STEM leaders – both women and men – and for that matter, helping to prepare all young leaders entering the workforce to be successful. With the global marketplace expanding at unprecedented rates, demographic shifts and emerging global trends playing an ever-increasing role in the American economy, it has become increasingly apparent that business leaders, industry experts and Academics can offer a more comprehensive approach to preparing future leaders to successfully enter the workforce.
A successful recruiting strategy starts with reaching employees long before they are ready to enter the workforce. This happens through community partnerships and alliances with academic institutions. Furthermore, in order to cultivate student interest in STEM fields, it is important to provide relevant and exciting examples of STEM job opportunities. For instance, the head of a national Facilities Management Association suggests providing a “big picture” simulation of the roles and responsibilities of engineers and facilities managers. This has the potential to generate more interest in the field, much more so than describing the tactical aspects of the day-to-day job.
In an interview with Million Women Mentors (MWM), a collaborative effort designed to engage one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors for girls, I expressed: “It’s incongruent that in 2013 women accounted for 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S., but STEM accounted for less than 10 percent of all degrees. Given that by 2020, 81 percent of new workforce entrants will be women or minorities, at Sodexo we hear a call to action today to mentor and prepare girls and young women for unbridled success in tomorrow’s demanding global marketplace, and are excited to support this critical STEM careers imperative.”