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Focusing on Inclusion in STEM Leadership Roles

As a company, we’re always on the look-out for new information about staffing and recruiting and ways that we can further develop as a team. A recent Diversity Executive webinar allowed us to do just that. Here are some things we learned about better equipping our search for meaningful employment and addressing the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent gap.

Filling a gap usually means something needs fixing or correcting and for the purposes of our business, it means determining where we are now, where we want to be and how to get there. What does it mean for addressing the STEM talent gap? The U.S. Bureau of Labor estimates that at least 8.7 million STEM jobs will exist in 2018. However, as it stands now, scientists, engineers and mathematicians only account for four percent of the workforce while generating more than 96 percent of the jobs available. Undoubtedly there is a missing link somewhere between the talent and actual employment.

Webinar speaker and vice president/chief diversity officer of Ingersoll Rand, Nereida Perez, shared a template for how recruiting and staffing organizations can help improve this STEM gap:

  1. Look at your existing business strategy. This means doing some research on things such as geographical location (Where are you finding most of your talent? Where do you think you can grow in the next 3-10 years?), business divisions and product lines, and what is currently working to promote high development.
  2. Look at the current talent needs as well as any patterns; identify the job types you need to work on filling. There are several key components for this step: you need to study the spread of filled roles in the 3 stages of the STEM phase (early talent, mid-career, and experienced), research all the sources you currently use to recruit, research your hiring pattern going back up to 10 years, and find where you’re able to bring in the most talent (schools, conferences, organizations, etc.). This step could be defined as “aligning and connecting the dots”.
  3. Create a plan that requires cross collaboration within companies. Work on finding recruits and potential talent by creating and utilizing community relations. For example, if your particular company does not have a lot of people going into apprenticeships, you might want to consider working with community relationships to get a grant. You could also consider engaging business unit leaders, frontline employees, community leaders or educational leaders. In essence, it is crucial to develop partnerships and create opportunities for yourself.
  4. Measure the impact of your strategy. Establish metrics based on your needs to evaluate the effectiveness of your STEM strategy. For example, you could measure the number of hires, number of interns, the impact of the new ideas, or money generated/saved as a result of the investment made. You may also want to consider the impact on the future workforce (number of students impacted by the program or the number of students enrolled) and the media (number of people reached and/or impacted).

There’s a lot of great research and work going on in the STEM space. In the future, education leaders have predicted there will be fewer and fewer grads due to the increase in tuition costs, which means it will likely become more difficult to find talent. This is why filling the STEM gap is so important. Here’s a good resource for more information on STEM research and events: http://www.stemconnector.org/.

More information about the Diversity Executive webinar may be found here: http://www.talentmgt.com/events/163-focusing-on-inclusion-in-stem-leadership-roles.

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