Recent research from the Center for Talent Innovation shows U.S. women working in science, engineering, and tech fields are 45% more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within the year.
It’s not for lack of enthusiasm or passion. Of those women surveyed, 80% say they love their work, yet many still report barriers to getting to the top.
“Women entering STEM fields have a much shorter runway for career takeoff than women entering other industries,” according to the report. “To begin with, they’re starting later because of the time it took to get a Ph.D. That intensifies the ticking of their biological clock, which in turn pressures them to step up the pace of their research progress.”
Companies like Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have been putting programs in place to help balance out this pipeline of leadership. But a number of factors need to be addressed before the issue can be resolved.
As predominantly male fields, it’s no surprise a lingering old boys’ club attitude in the science, engineering, and tech industries isolates women. Surveyed women describe these as the “lab-coat culture” in science that encourages long unforgiving hours, the “hard-hat culture” of engineering, and the frat-like “geek workplace culture” of tech.
These environments tend to make women working feel out of place as a result. It’s that sense of isolation that may tend to prevent women from climbing up the ranks.