In many of the highest-paying careers, men still outnumber women. Not only does this mean that the pay gap between men and women still persists, but it also means that women are not getting the opportunities they deserve and are unable to fully participate in the workforce.
Engineering is a prime example of a field still dominated by men. In fact, women made up just 15% of the engineering workforce in 2019. Despite efforts to increase STEM education for girls, many women who have an interest in becoming engineers end up switching their field of study or leaving the profession.
Companies need to take the lead and prioritize hiring female engineers now and in the future. Here’s why hiring women is necessary to help advance the field of engineering.
Women Bring New Talent to the Field
Women make up roughly half the workforce, yet only a very small percentage make it into the field of engineering. The field is missing out on a huge amount of untapped talent that could help advance the field. Expanding the potential talent pool by including more women could make a huge positive difference in how the field will progress.
Hiring more women increases diversity within the industry and provides new role models for girls and women who are interested in engineering. More women in the field will also help to change the masculine-centric culture of engineering and encourage women to both join the field and stay in it.
Increased Innovation and New Perspectives
Diversity is important in any industry for encouraging innovation. When colleagues all have similar backgrounds and demographics, they are likely to agree with one another and engage in groupthink. While that might be good for promoting harmony in the office, it’s not good for considering new ideas and making necessary changes.
Women bring new perspectives and experiences into the office. They might consider angles that no one else has ever thought of before. This can lead to improved performance, innovation, and revenue, which also helps to push the industry forward.
Many industries are now relying largely on data processing and analysis for decision-making. But it’s important to remember that the human experience is still extremely valuable in helping companies and industries succeed.
Everyone has different skills, communication styles, and priorities. Collaboration can actually be easier when the participants have different backgrounds. In fact, research shows that groups with more women tend to take turns and share information more effectively. People work better together when they’re not frustrated because they never have an opportunity to speak during a meeting!
Groups also make better decisions overall when women are included. In fact, teams that are gender-diverse outperform less diverse teams on decision-making up to 87% of the time. Companies that don’t hire female engineers are missing out on opportunities to outperform their competitors.
Many women who are interested in engineering don’t just want a paycheck, they want to make a difference. There are so many different areas of specialization in the field, ranging from civil engineering to chemical engineering, but many men gravitate toward the specialties that pay more.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to have socially-conscious career goals. They might want to pursue environmental engineering, for instance, to help make cities greener. Their passion for solving the world’s problems could help move the industry forward and improve progress on important problems like climate change.
Demand for Engineers is Growing
As the demand for engineers grows, the industry is going to have a hard time finding qualified applicants. Hiring more women and encouraging girls to pursue STEM fields will be critical for ensuring that there are enough trained engineers to meet the world’s needs. A shortage of engineers means that the pace of projects slows down and innovation stalls because the existing workforce needs to prioritize immediate needs.
Engineers Move Our World Forward—and So Do Women
Why aren’t there more women in engineering already? Lack of interest isn’t the main problem. Many girls are interested in engineering, but there are other challenges that stand in the way. There are cultural challenges within the field and built into how we encourage or don’t encourage girls to pursue STEM careers.
It’s important to remember that engineers and women both do so much to move our world forward. Without including the talents of women in this all-important field, we are slowing down growth and limiting opportunities for everyone involved. Hiring more women now won’t solve all the gender gap problems, but it’s a good start.