Almost everything about our world today, all the things we do, touch and know, originate from science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM). STEM helps to make sense of the world around us and gives us the tools to improve our lives and those of others. However, these innovations don’t just happen, each one is achieved through the dedication and hard work of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise, but women and minority groups have been underrepresented in STEM for years. According to a survey by PwC, women make up just 15% of people working in STEM occupations in the UK. This must change and it’s not just because it’s the right thing but because we need it to.
Evidence has shown that greater diversity delivers greater innovation. According to Bersin by Deloitte, highly inclusive organisations rate themselves 170% better at innovation. Think about it, if everyone looks, thinks and behaves the same it isn’t going to result in future life-changing innovations. Plus, on a business level, diversity means better performance. According to PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, 85% of CEOs whose organisations have a Diversity & Inclusion strategy say it has enhanced performance.
So, why should women and minority groups consider STEM as a viable career option?
Job security and opportunity: Job security should be a big consideration when planning your career. The widely reported STEM skills shortage means that it’s unlikely that you’ll never be out of work. In Australia, for example, STEM jobs are increasing at a rate of 1.6 times fast than non-STEM jobs, while in the UK 97% of organisations have had difficulties hiring the skilled professionals they need. So, in short, there are opportunities to be had if you have the right skills.
Competitive pay: Salary is important because it gives you security in your personal life. Everyone has different goals and aspirations, but a well-paying job will help make them possible. With demand comes reward and STEM salaries are competitive. Becoming an engineer, for example, takes a lot of skill and dedication, so it makes sense that this is reflected in the salary. According to The Engineer’s 2018 Salary Survey, the average salary for engineers is over £47,000.
Change the world: People working in STEM today and in the coming years have the unique opportunity to shape the world of tomorrow. Not only could you design the next disruptive or innovative piece of technology – thinks smartphones and virtual assistants – you could also address some of the major issues we’re currently facing such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning up the oceans, creating a universal flu vaccine or developing a dementia treatment. While a list of the world’s problems is sadly extensive, at least you could be the one that creates a product that has a positive effect on people around the world. Ultimately, working in STEM isn’t just about having a fulfilling career but about bringing much-needed change.
While there is a lack of skilled STEM professionals, it’s important to remember it’s not all doom and gloom. A lot of positive steps are being taken to attract people into the industry, particularly regarding under-represented groups, as well as reviews into how STEM is taught in schools. For example, groups such as WISE, who campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering, are strongly pushing the agenda. We’re also seeing increasing numbers of organisation prioritise diversity and inclusion (D&I) and report on it. You too could be part of that change if you decide on a career in STEM.
One of Imagination’s hardware engineers, Roberto Roncone, makes a compelling case as to why people of any age, gender, culture or religion should really consider a career in STEM:
“Ever since the day I wrote a digital letter to Santa, my passion for computers and electronics has grown. When I look back and think about the progress we’ve made in the last 20 years, I realise why I love electronics so much. It empowers people. Moore’s law has always been a promise to provide more and more powerful means to let people express their creativity, improve lives and break barriers. Electronics enables researchers to find new cures, engineers to design amazing cars and sending rockets into space. Electronics is now a critical pillar of our society and that’s why I became an electronic engineer.”
By Jo Jones, Technology Communications Manager, Imagination Technologies
Jo is the Technology Communications Manager at Imagination Technologies. With an extensive background in technology PR, Jo has worked with a range of B2B and B2C brands in a number of sectors prior to joining Imagination. You can follow Jo on Twitter at @JoAshford83
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.