News Column

STEM Skills Gap Widens Among Diverse Workers

Dec. 11, 2012

In recognition of the value that a diverse workforce brings to business today, online job-search service, the flagship brand of Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW), asked market research firm Harris Interactive to conduct research that examines the importance of diversity recruiting in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematical (STEM) professions.

It is widely acknowledged that STEM professions pose a recruiting challenge for many employers. When recruiting diverse candidates for STEM professions, an even greater challenge emerges.

Although well along the way to realizing and embracing the benefits of diversity and inclusion, Monster survey participants indicated that they are not fully at their goal of STEM diversity. These responses align with current figures in diversity representation in STEM professions.

Today, non-Hispanic whites constitute approximately 73% of the STEM workforce of which 27% are women; collectively, Hispanics and African-Americans constitute about 7% of the STEM workforce, despite making up more than 27.9% of the population. These structural shortages, uncovered in our qualitative research, are derived from a variety of factors including candidate location, cultural barriers within diverse communities that include a paucity of role models in STEM occupations, as well as a lack of discussion of these professions in the communities' educational environments.

"STEM positions are among the fastest growing occupations," said Jeffrey Quinn, vice president, Global Monster Insights. "Unfortunately, current skills gaps prevent organizations filling STEM positions with diverse candidates. The limited supply of qualified candidates is a fundamental issue organizations face in diverse STEM recruitment. If this gap continues to widen, the low number of diverse professionals in STEM occupations will create a challenge in the demand for global STEM education, employment and funding."

Hiring managers and recruiters with direct responsibility for recruiting and hiring diversity candidates overwhelmingly believe that effective diversity recruiting requires the strategic, long-term execution of a deliberate and multidimensional plan. This group also believes that the most effective recruiters employ many techniques to create a "pipeline" of diverse candidates who are accessible and interested in their companies.

"Workplace diversity is a vital strategy for building a strong business," said Lise Poulos, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Monster Worldwide. "At Monster, we consider diversity and inclusion to be paramount to our success and we leverage it in our own workforce as a strategic advantage."

Monster commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey in August 2011 in which more than 400 chief diversity officers or senior vice presidents of human resources participated from a representative group of companies involved with architecture and engineering, computer and mathematics or life, physical and social science disciplines. Additionally, Monster conducted in-depth interviews with diversity and human resources executives.

Source: Copyright Business Wire 2012

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