Traditionally, because the patriarchy, roles in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have been dominated by men. But like with, well, most traditional views, we’re finally starting to realise how silly this is, or at least women are. We’re starting to see a rise of females showing interest in these industries, and yet the number of women actually applying to these jobs has barely changed at all.
According to SEEK, the number of roles in STEM are at an overall increase of 28% from 2015 to 2018, that increased was helped greatly by science and technology jobs in particular. NEARLY half of the people expressing interest for those jobs are female, or 49% to be exact. Engineering is the exception here, with female interest still only at 18%.
AND YET. When it comes to the number of women actually applying for these STEM roles there’s only been a tiny 3% increase in the last three years. Why are women still holding back from applying? The numbers are in guys, it’s nurture and very obviously not nature.
“There should be equal opportunity for both boys and girls, educating them into these types of roles,” says Kathleen McCudden, Group HR Director at SEEK, “Education at a young age on STEM job roles is absolutely crucial.“
And really, with just as many women interested in these industries as men, you can no longer try and argue that the difference is only because it’s ‘stuff that interests men’. I mean, you never could, that’s the kind of sexist thinking that forced women to think all they could do in life was be a housewife. To be clear, if that’s your choice, then great do you, but the choice shouldn’t be forced on you. Besides, a diversified workplace can only make a business better.
“There is a massive benefit to having a diverse workforce as the target audience for today’s technology is every walk of life and having that diversity of thought and understanding of the market is essential,” explains McCudden.
How do we continue to change outdated thinking and make STEM roles a place of equality? McCudden says businesses and organisations can run a few small changes to encourage women to follow their STEM passions.
“Ensure [your] job ads are gender neutral, i.e. stray away from subjective terms, such as ‘advanced’, ‘exceptional’, ‘extensive’ and ‘strong’”
“[Also], focus on talent retention – improving the number of women in technology jobs across the business by upskilling and reskilling. It is as much about retention as it is about attraction.“