How Can Employers Become Champions for Women in STEM?- Universum

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Stockholm, Wednesday March 8th, 2023, in honor of International Women’s Day, Today Universum released the findings of the third publication of its Women in STEM research. This latest edition of the Women in STEM eBook examines the views, career objectives, and aspirations of college women who intend to work in STEM professions and provides employers with key takeaways to increase the number of competent women hire and help make sure they’re more likely to remain in their jobs, and work towards gender parity. 

Women in STEM – Why is it more important than ever? 

Despite all the attention paid to (and investments made in) promoting more women to work in STEM fields, inequality persists. There have been numerous recent studies that have attempted to pinpoint the root causes of the problem, including the lack of pipelines for women in elementary and higher education, biases in the workplace and in the classroom that result in higher attrition rates, or even the different career choices that men and women make in the STEM fields that contribute to inequalities. 

It may be easy to assume that the fight for gender equality in STEM jobs has been won when analysts state that women and men now have equal employment opportunities in the US. But a closer analysis reveals that there are still significant disparities outside of the fields of medicine and the life sciences. Moreover, these disparities lead to unequal opportunities and pay. 

Women are underrepresented fields of expertise that are expected to grow more quickly, pay more, and give more opportunities. Due to all these factors, businesses must be deliberate in their talent attraction and management strategies for women in STEM. Otherwise, they risk having a male dominance in their ranks of engineers, analysts, and AI developers, which in turn makes it even more difficult to recruit women. 

Averages conceal important gender-related information when hiring STEM talent. 

HR professionals can anticipate changes in what talent is looking for in their jobs by gathering and analyzing talent data. They can also improve employee experience and employer branding. However, it’s crucial that talent leaders question the data, considering seriously what lurks behind trend data. 

According to Universum’s study, most students, regardless of gender, want to work for companies that offer high future earnings and strong professional training and development possibilities; however, after that, their priorities in terms of their careers diverge. 

“If students globally are still aiming for a return on investment, they are also claiming flexibility, says Universum Analytics Project Manager, Charlotte Jacquier. While they have been prioritizing money for the past few years, we witness flexible working conditions and work-life balance scoring higher than in the past. They are not yet listed in the 2022 Global Top 5 Career Preferences, but let’s see what the future brings”. 

When compared to innovation and a high base salary for men, women’s secure employment and excellent references for a future profession came in third and fourth, respectively, in 2022. Additionally, when comparing the career priorities of men and women, there are some notable differences. For instance, ethical standards are rated #11 for women and #29 for men in the rankings, respectively.  

2022 Global Top 5 Career Preferences Rankings, by Gender 

WOMEN 
Professional training and development 
High future earnings 
Secure employment 
Good reference for future career 
A friendly work environment 
MEN 
High future earnings 
Professional training and development 
Innovation 
Competitive base salary 
Good reference for future career

Women’s Professional Priorities: Recognizing regional narratives. 

“Women must be able to picture themselves working for an employer and even planning to advance their careers there”, according to Tina Smetana, Managing Director, EMEA, of Universum. “It’s crucial to share experiences from women working at your business. For example, describe a typical day. What mentorship options are available to women? Are there any schools for women in leadership? All of these represent the kind of all-encompassing support that women in STEM areas seek.” 

The research from Universum provides unmistakable cues about the career preferences that mean most to women, right down to the national level. For instance, when considering a potential employer, American women in STEM areas rate #3-ranked inspiring purpose. Inspiring purpose is ranked #8 for women in the UK, #29 in China, and #35 in Mexico. Comparable to other countries, Germany (#4), Canada (#5), and France (#18) place a high value on flexible work arrangements. 

Employers with a global presence must adopt a precision-focused strategy, selecting an international EVP that adopts a broader perspective and then localizing employer branding to suit local-level points of view. 

About Universum 

Universum is a data-driven, insight-led employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Zurich, Singapore and Shanghai. We provide our clients with the research, strategy, and creative solutions they need to compete more effectively for talent. 



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