Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field. The main culprit? Company culture. A recent study by the national Project on Women Engineers’ Retention (POWER) – featured on NPR.com – found the engineering workplace unfriendly and even hostile to women. Respondents said engineering companies did not provide opportunities for women to advance and develop.
The POWER study reveals a powerful truth – what happens behind closed doors in an organization can have a profound impact on the health of an entire industry.
In 2012, women comprised more than half of science and engineering graduates in North America, according to the Center for Talent Innovation. The pulse of the engineering profession depends on companies’ ability to engage these women to, at a baseline, keep them in the field; the even greater accomplishment would be to set them up to thrive, excel, and contribute to the growth and advancement of the industry in leadership roles.
A T.H. Easter Consulting Tip:
At the early stage of employee engagement the company must lean toward the employee to offer clear guidance and set expectations. The onus is on the engineering company to interpret priorities, work styles and culture. The employee, and in this case – women engineers – must invest blind trust in the employment proposition (think: vision, mission, values). While this new process progresses, the employee must embrace this shared investment, all while resisting the natural urge to lean away from the organization.
Read more about diversity and inclusion in highly competitive industries by downloading the T.H. Easter Consulting white paper.