According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 50% of the American workforce is comprised of females.

However, only 26% of STEM jobs are occupied by women employees.

What is STEM?

STEM refers to jobs in the sectors of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This encompasses more than just the IT sector – fields such as R&D are also considered to be STEM jobs.

For decades, STEM companies have hired primarily male workers for key job positions. This trend has led many women to pursue other types of majors in college, and few women are deciding to study in fields that will prepare them to take on STEM roles.

As a result, there has been disparity in the supply and demand of STEM jobs for women. Many college students today are pursuing careers elsewhere, and there are hundreds of unfilled positions in the STEM world.

If these trends continue, it is estimated that by 2018, the U.S. will have 2.4 million STEM positions needing to be occupied by skilled workers.

The Impact

How will this large gap affect companies?

Many firms will miss out on the immense benefits that come with having a specialized IT workforce. With fewer qualified applicants, companies may have to offer very high salaries to attract the right employees.

To develop as a nation, it is imperative that we have a strong workforce dedicated to STEM jobs.

This is why the Obama administration has placed an emphasis on increasing the number of women employed in STEM roles. By doing this, companies will be able to tap into a much larger talent pool and find the right candidates with the potential to succeed in these roles.

Hiring talented women in addition to men will help develop a much stronger STEM sector, which, in the long run, means enhanced growth and immense profits.

Diversity is Key

Of course, companies which value diversity know that increasing the workforce is only part of the reason why more women should be hired in the STEM sector.

Diversity is the key to improving a company’s bottom line, as a diverse workforce is more equipped to handle difficult situations, especially in a job sector such as STEM, where there are unique challenges that often require expertise from various backgrounds and skill sets.

By having a combination of men and women in STEM roles, a firm can enrich its organizational culture. Having a diverse mix of talented individuals enhances productivity and helps in improving the overall bottom line.

Thus, one of the many ways in which a company can improve productivity and increase profits is by hiring more women for STEM jobs.

This doesn’t mean that you should hire female candidates over a male candidate who has better qualifications. To find the right people, companies need to be proactive in identifying the right female candidates for STEM roles.

You can mention that you are looking for interested and qualified female candidates when you post openings on job boards. The goal is to identify and bring in people who will help take your company to greater heights, and adding talented women to the mix will not only improve diversity in your workplace, but also improve the company’s bottom line.