Under-represented communities only make up a small proportion of the STEM workforce, but disparities exist long before people enter employment.
The stark lack of diversity in the STEM fields has long been documented - an issue that the industry is all too aware of. So what can be done to practically tackle the lack of under-represented and diverse talent accessing opportunities and pathways?
Tackling STEM's diversity problem
It starts with education. The education infrastructure needs an overhaul, and it needs to be addressing the issues and recognize that there are still hurdles that need to be overcome that inhibit under-represented communities from accessing both the knowledge and exposure to STEM as a viable career route. Things need to change from the bottom up. Promoting diversity begins with early age education, and those in significant positions within STEM come together, connect and collaborate by using their work to increase engagement and influence under-represented talent. This would help to promote STEM careers as something that isn’t just possible but an equal playing field. Combating economic inequality, guaranteeing equal opportunities, and providing a high-quality education regardless of zipcode is where progress starts. Education providers can work with the STEM employees of the industry to gauge the skills required to develop curriculums with employers in mind. A long-term and strategic approach needs to be implemented; quick fixes to address under-representation are not sustainable or beneficial for significant societal change. Collaboration across sectors to proactively remove barriers and articulate a vision that begins with education, immersing young minds in the possibilities of STEM and enabling bright futures for under-represented communities to uplift and empower their lives with a fulfilling STEM career.
Diversify the Future is shaping the future of STEM by ensuring that diverse and under-represented communities have access to education and qualifications. We are supported by Engtal, a leading US technology and engineering staffing firm. For every under-represented candidate that Engtal places, they donate $1000 to our scholarship fund. This supports individuals from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds to access STEM-specific college scholarships.