NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As global challenges such as health equity and community resiliency become more urgent, new MetLife research shows a critical need for women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to help identify solutions.
According to MetLife’s annual TTX report on women and STEM, most employees at the U.S. companies surveyed express concern over the impacts of global socioeconomic challenges and think progress towards identifying solutions is happening too slowly. Employees say having more women in STEM is critical to moving the needle on this. Yet, many women in STEM continue to struggle with barriers to their career progression. This comes on the heels of MetLife’s 2021 and 2020 research which found women left the workforce at an alarming rate during the pandemic and faced roadblocks when trying to return.
To discuss the opportunities around women in STEM, on November 30 and December 1, MetLife’s 4th annual Triangle Tech X Conference, “Inspiring the Next Innovation Wave”, will convene top technology and business leaders, including companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Dell, SAS, and Cisco. The event is free and will be keynoted by global cultural icon Serena Williams, who along with being widely considered among the greatest tennis players of all time, has been successful in business, venture capital and fashion. Other thought leaders presenting at TTX include: futurist Amy Webb, Project Include CEO Ellen Pao and Emmy-nominated TV host Emily Calandrelli.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for employers to forge a more equitable path forward,” said Bill Pappas, head of Global Technology and Operations at MetLife. “Industry leaders and STEM workers believe it could take 20 years or more for women to be equally represented in these fields, but we don’t have nearly that long. Women are critical to inspiring the next wave of innovation.”
Uncertainty for women in STEM
While the industry has seen some progress over the past year, obstacles for STEM equality remain. STEM women are almost twice as likely as non-STEM women to say they are considering leaving the workforce. Top reasons cited in the research include a lack of diversity at their companies; stress and burnout; and others getting promoted ahead of them.
Compounding the issue, there are fewer women in STEM leadership positions today than just a year ago. The MetLife survey found women in STEM leadership ranks – including people managers, team leaders, and executive leadership – fell 14% over the past year, indicating a widening representation gap.
An opportunity for employers
Despite these challenges, nearly half of women see STEM as an innovative and impactful field that can contribute to solving major societal challenges. This presents a significant opportunity for employers to improve how they attract, develop and retain female STEM talent.
“Often, women are simply overlooked,” said Serena Williams, who has faced many barriers in her various careers. “It starts with just giving women opportunities, because we’ve had to work harder for what we achieve and we won’t disappoint.”
The MetLife research shows there are several different ways employers can encourage women to continue pursuing careers in STEM, including: increased flexibility; career progression opportunities; a purpose-driven culture; and creating a more inclusive workplace.
“The time to act is now,” said Robin Gordon, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at MetLife. “It’s clear that bringing more women into STEM will have a profound impact on changing our world, which is why it’s so critical women are given the opportunities and support they need to thrive at every stage of their careers.”
MetLife’s 2022 Women in STEM Study was conducted in September 2022. The study was fielded by Rainmakers CSI – an international strategy, insight and planning consultancy. The Study consists of two surveys. The employer survey includes 310 interviews with HR and benefit decision-makers at organizations with STEM employees. The employee survey includes a representative sample of 2,423 interviews with people in the US workforce, ages 18 to 65, and boost to achieve n=505 female STEM workers and n=256 male STEM workers. Please note: the US workforce includes full-time employees, part-time employees, gig workers, and those unemployed but seeking work.
About Rainmakers CSI
Rainmakers CSI is a global strategy, insight and planning consultancy. Since its inception in 2007, Rainmakers CSI has worked collaboratively with leading companies to help define opportunities for brands, categories and businesses. Its expertise spans across Financial Services, Food and Drink, Beauty, Healthcare, Telecoms, Technology, Entertainment, and Travel. For more information, visit www.rainmakerscsi.com.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the world's leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 markets and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.