USA: With worldwide shortage of skilled engineers, a new survey reveals a lack of encouragement to pursue STEM careers, especially for women.
The fifth annual STEM survey by Emerson found that six out of 10 Americans are interested in pursuing STEM careers – but fewer than four in 10 (39%) have felt encouraged to do so.
As revealed in previous surveys, the disparity is even more pronounced among women: two out of three US women say they were not encouraged to pursue a career in STEM.
While the survey found that younger generations across the globe are three times more likely to be encouraged to pursue STEM careers than generations before them, there are still several critical gaps to address – particularly as industries continue to report that they cannot find individuals with the skills required for today’s advanced workplaces.
“As automation and technology become truly ingrained in our workplaces and schools, there’s a growing urgency to prepare the workforce with STEM skills that will be critical to the continued strength of the global economy,” said David N Farr, Emerson’s chairman and CEO.
“We want to lead the charge in making strategic investments that will provide both the current and future workforce with the right skillsets to succeed in one of the many tremendous careers made available through STEM – from software development to new technologies in manufacturing.”
Of the women who said they were not encouraged to pursue STEM careers, most attributed this missed opportunity in the workforce to stereotypes against women and a lack of female role models in the field.
“Empowering individuals of all ages and backgrounds with the tools necessary to thrive in STEM is a crucial step in solving the growing talent gap across several key industries,” said Kathy Button Bell, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Emerson. “We have long been dedicated to fostering a culture at Emerson that attracts and advances women through a variety of initiatives, including our 4,000-member Women in STEM group, which provides support and mentoring for our female engineers globally.”
Emerson says it is helping to address this skills gap issue for people of all ages through its We Love STEM initiatives, partnerships with more than 350 universities and technical colleges worldwide, and investments in employee training.
More information about Emerson’s We Love STEM initiatives is available here.