Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation
SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer,
Sodexo North America
This week, Sodexo participated in the “Upskilling America’s Workforce: Preparing for the Future of Work by Aligning Business and Education” conference, hosted by Manpower Group and Apollo Education Group at the National Press Club. The conference highlighted a ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey, which found that 38 percent of employers globally report difficulties filling jobs.
As a top 20 global employer, with over 133,000 employees in the U.S., we recognize that a key part of the challenge is building a workforce with the necessary STEM skills. (more…)
VP, Public Relations
Sodexo North America
While expanded globalization is swiftly increasing the competitive landscape for most businesses, it is also creating many more opportunities (and choices) for top STEM talent. The U.S. Department of Commerce projects that STEM occupations will grow by 17 percent between 2008–2018, compared with only 9.8 percent for non-STEM fields. In addition, the nonprofit Science Pioneers, expects demand for STEM professionals to add more than 1 million jobs to the U.S. workforce over the next four years. Compare this with the number of bachelor degrees in STEM-related fields, which has remained relatively flat for nearly 20 years, and you can clearly see the talent-gap most businesses will have to deal with. To make matters worse, the U.S. Department of Education reports that only 16 percent of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers. (more…)
According to the Pew Research Center Americans widely believe that men have a better shot at leadership positions in business and politics, even as majorities say that men and women make equally good leaders. There is little consensus, however, on why women remain underrepresented in these fields.
LinkedIn recently summarized findings from data that measured gender diversity across several industries. They found:
- A leadership gap showing a difference in females represented in membership overall and members in leadership positions
- This gap is most pronounced in healthcare, retail and financial services
- In accounting firms, women represent nearly half of the total employee base, but only 26% of leadership
- Companies that operate in e-learning and information services industries have the most gender equal workforces
- Insurance, commercial real estate and venture capital all have leadership gaps of 16% or higher
And current trends are not helping close this gap. A Forbes report revealed that the most popular majors for women include History, English language and literature, Nursing, Accounting, Psychology and Business Administration and Management (which is number one). In contrast, Kiplinger’s list of most in-demand degrees center more on STEM fields and include Finance, Civil Engineering, Economics, Information Technology, Software Engineering, Management Info Systems and Computer Science.
Creating interest and opportunities for women around STEM-related fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board. But it requires more effort by individuals and by companies. According to WhiteHouse.gov, supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves. Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation.
Women who want to move up the ladder at an accelerated pace should consider coursework in skills that will make them more sought-after in the marketplace and position them for advancement. This may include advanced computer skills, finance or project management. And companies must do more to identify, encourage and support women who have in-demand skill-sets. Stretch opportunities, mentoring and sponsorship are just a few of the ways organizations can encourage the next generation of women leaders.
Another role that appears less common – but is, frankly, more beneficial – is that of a coach. A coach’s conversations are more directive because their job is to help their client achieve his or her specific workplace objectives or goals. In other words, a good coach understands what you need to do to get ahead and helps you do just that. While coaches are often assigned only to executives by a company, the Wall Street Journal published a compelling article on the process and benefits of finding your own career coach. An experienced and objective coach may be the best career investment, providing sound advice on what courses to take, which skills to polish and what organizations are the best suited to quickly advance your career.
Michael Norris is COO and Market President for Sodexo Corporate Services and a strong advocate for the new performance frontier: Quality of Life. Mr. Norris is committed to developing the next generation of STEM leaders – both women and men – and helping to prepare all young leaders entering the workforce to be successful.
Michael Norris, COO and Market President of Sodexo Corporate Services, was invited to share his insights on the importance of STEM education in the Health Care field at the University of Phoenix Healthcare Forum. In an associated post on the University of Phoenix’s blog, Michael outlines why more emphasis needs to be given to STEM careers in healthcare, the fastest growing segment of STEM jobs. For example, clinical nutrition and clinical technology management are projected to grow 21 percent and 30 percent respectively from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Globalization is quickly changing the rules of how business gets done. The size and scope of a company is becoming less important – agile and innovative start-ups are changing the rules and context of business. Now the battle for talent, markets, innovations and information is global. People specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are swiftly becoming the most sought-after employees because they are in short supply and those fields are critical to the prosperity of organizations operating in the global economy.
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.