General Electric has revealed its initiative to hire 20,000 women for STEM positions. The technology giant is targeting the year 2020 as its deadline for having the 20,000 women on board for the science, technology, engineering and math jobs.
The goal, GE noted in a February 7 news release, is to attain 50-50 representation for all of GE’s technical entry-level programs.
GE plans to the number of women in its engineering, manufacturing, IT and product management roles – a strategy GE executives say is necessary “to inject urgency into addressing ongoing gender imbalance in technical fields and fully transform into a digital industrial company.”
While efforts have been made across the sector, through education, funded initiatives and the emergence of non-profit discussion,
GE admits to slow progress on shrinking the gender gap on in the male-dominated technology and engineering sectors. Also, executives note the pipeline for future talent today is insufficient to meet future needs.
Without more women in technology and manufacturing, GE expects the skills gap to widen, impacting productivity and diminishing the potential of digital and other new technologies transforming industry and manufacturing.
In a white paper, GE outlines the talent crisis for women in STEM roles:
• In the US today, only 14 percent of all engineers and 25 percent of all IT professionals are women.
• Though women make up 55 percent of all college and graduate students overall, only 18 percent of computer science graduates are female, according to the US Bureau of Statistics.
Other notable stats include:
• Among the major tech giants, women are still under-represented, making up 13-24 percent of the tech-related jobs, and 17-30 percent ascending to leadership positions.
• While women tend to outnumber men overall in higher education (55 percent to 45 percent), the share is much smaller for STEM education.
• Nearly 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field, according to one study.
“Unless we bring more women into technology and manufacturing, there will be a significant negative economic impact on the sector,” said GE Chief Economist Marco Annunziata in a statement. “This is a problem for business to actively address.”