– By Callam Pickering, APAC Economist at Indeed
Despite promising new data, gender inequality in the workforce is still very real, and nowhere is it more urgent than in STEM.
According to UNESCO, only 30 per cent of female students worldwide choose to study STEM-related subjects at a tertiary level. Research shows that universally female enrolment is consistently low in engineering, manufacturing, mathematics and natural sciences studies, and lowest of all in technology. It’s therefore unsurprising to learn that women currently make up less than 30 per cent of STEM researchers worldwide.
Yet, despite a historically striking gender imbalance across STEM fields, recent local data has revealed a promising new trend.
RELATED: Women in STEM earn 16% less than men
A welcome change
In 2019, women accounted for 21 per cent of STEM professionals, up from 18 per cent a decade ago, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Over the past decade, almost one-third of STEM jobs have gone to women.
Employment for women in STEM roles increased by six percent a year, over the past half-decade, almost twice as fast as the growth for men. That’s also more than twice the rate of employment growth nationally.
This is a significant and optimistic development for women in STEM. While they remain underrepresented in science, tech, engineering and maths fields, strong growth is creating important role models for aspiring girls interested in pursuing science and maths roles.
Increasingly these trends are reflected in the broader workforce, too. Last year, Australia’s workforce participation rate surged over 66 per cent for the first time on record, reflecting stronger participation among women of all ages, particularly those 35-years and older. Since 2014, women’s participation has increased across all age groups but particularly for those aged 35 and above.
Greater emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility across Australian businesses has created a more female-friendly and inclusive working environment, encouraging record numbers of women to enter the workforce and allowing them to remain in the workforce for much longer. Meanwhile, strong growth in service sector employment has also helped to boost participation rates.
The contributions of women in the workplace are vital, not only for the development of society but for the welfare of its people. So, with International Women’s Day just around the corner, it’s timely to highlight and celebrate the important advancements of women – in STEM jobs and in the workforce more broadly.
What are you doing this International Women’s Day? Join us on Twitter from 8am for an epic celebration of women in STEM.
Author: STEM Contributor
This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.