GE recently announced its goals of having 20,000 women fill the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) roles by 2020 and obtaining a 50:50 representation in all the company’s technical entry-level programs.
The program aims to significantly increase the representation of women in certain key departments of the GE such as engineering, manufacturing, IT and product management, which are still male dominated. According to the organization, the strategy was developed to bridge the gender imbalance in technical fields which would enable GE evolve into a digital industrial company.
GE reasons that, without more women in technology and manufacturing, it “expects the skills gap to widen, impacting productivity and diminishing the potential of digital and other new technologies transforming industry and manufacturing.”
A white paper, “Engineering the Future: The Socio-Economic Case for Gender Equality” by GE Chief Economist Marco Annunziata and Global Economist Kimberly Chase, shows that in the U.S. today, only 14% of all engineers and 25% of all IT professionals are women.
Further information by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that among the major tech giants, women are still under-represented, making up 13-24% of the tech-related jobs, and 17-30% ascending to leadership positions even though they outnumber men overall in higher education (55% to 45%).
GE said it believes that “the commercial imperative, coupled with the ongoing challenges of recruiting and retaining top female talent in STEM jobs, means organizations must make continued, real investment in closing the gender gap.
GE will also continue to benchmark, explore and implement employee programs and benefits that foster a fair and inclusive culture where all employees can thrive.”