There’s no question the diversity dilemma facing the STEM fields is a mountain we’re not finished climbing yet. A constant stream of TED Talks, books, and speakers has given us plenty of information, but there’s little consensus about what the latest statistics and trends mean for the industry – and how we should address the issues raised by these data sets.
Let’s explore five revealing numbers that paint a clear picture of the impossible-to-ignore implications of STEM diversity – or lack thereof – today.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between May 2009 and May 2015, over 800,000 STEM jobs were added to the United States economy. The largest growth when considering specific STEM industries was in Computer Systems Design and related services. Tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple will need to fill more jobs as their companies continue to expand. Two-thirds of these new hires are projected to be STEM talent.
Currently, 84 % of working professionals in science and engineering jobs are white or Asian males. While more women than men are enrolled in all US undergraduate programs today, just 18 percent of women earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering as recently as 2012. That same statistic saw an even lower number for graduates of Hispanic origin (eight percent) and African Americans (four percent).
Since 1991, there’s been a 12 % drop in the number of computer science degrees earned by women in the United States. Compare this to 1983, right before the personal computer revolution, when women earned 37 % of all computer science degrees in the US. Despite the fact that women comprise more than half of the workforce, their representation in STEM has gone in reverse.
According to the US Census Bureau, this is the average annual salary gap between male and female professionals in STEM-related jobs, each with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. This same number is £17,000 in the U.K.
40 % is the current percentage difference in the number of US information and technology patents filed by mixed-sex teams compared to all-male teams. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a more diverse STEM population leads to huge benefits for tech innovation at large. According to a University of Maryland and Columbia Business School joint study, gender diversity at the management level leads to a $42 million increase in value of S&P 500 firms.
Now that we’ve looked at the hard numbers – what are you doing to help improve this data? If you’re making strides toward tackling diversity in STEM, we want to hear it! Click the teal and red box at the right corner to nominate yourself, your business, or another amazing colleague.