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Women in STEM: planning a career path that works

Women in STEM: planning a career path that works

  • Is STEM still dominated by men?
  • Why are women in STEM so important?
  • How women in STEM can get ahead
  • 5 Top jobs for women in STEM
  • 1. Computer systems analyst
  • 2. Software developers and QA assurance analyst/tester
  • 3. Statistician
  • 4. Medical scientist
  • 5. Environmental engineer
  • Key takeaways

Beginning a career path in the STEM industry is a great option for those who are looking for stability, growth, and advancement opportunities. Since this is such a male-dominated industry, women who want to build their careers here will need to plan strategically. In this article, we will learn more about how women in STEM are affected and what you can do to stand out and find a great career.

Do you want a cutting-edge career with great job security? Consider working in STEM. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and is an umbrella term for these distinct yet related fields. Together, these fields make up a popular industry thriving with lots of job opportunities and fantastic salaries. 

However, for many years, STEM has been a male-dominated industry, and it has been hard for women to break into it. Luckily, there are many things women can do to build a successful career in a tech-heavy industry, and we see more and more women in STEM these days.

In this article, we will learn more about what the industry looks like for women and how they can build their careers. Here’s what we will be looking at:

  • Is STEM still dominated by men?

  • Why women in STEM are so important

  • How women can get ahead in STEM

  • 5 top jobs for women in STEM

Is STEM still dominated by men?

While we’ve seen an increase in the number of women entering the field, it is still an industry primarily dominated by men. However, the numbers vary depending on the individual STEM industry. While the number of women in certain STEM industries has grown over the years, they have fallen in others.

Here’s a closer look at various industries inside STEM and how the number of women has changed over the past several years:

  • Engineering. From 2011 through 2020, the number of women who have earned bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral degrees has increased significantly. However, that is not reflected in the number of women working in the field. According to the CDC, women with engineering jobs make up 14 percent in that sector.

  • Math and computer sciences. This is another STEM industry that has seen an increase in the number of women earning degrees, but it is still male-dominated. Regarding women in tech 2023 statistics, they hold approximately 28 percent of math and computer science jobs.

  • Physical sciences. Earth and physical science degrees are more popular among women than math and computer science. However, the number of women working in the physical sciences is equivalent to that of computer science and math.

  • Biological sciences. Biological science has a smaller gender gap. In this industry, 49 percent of jobs are held by women versus 51 percent held by men. Also, since 2011, the field has seen a huge increase in women seeking degrees.

  • Social sciences. More women are currently earning degrees in social science than men are, which means it should eventually become a female-dominated industry. This is one industry that is showing strong potential for women, even when it comes to management levels.

Why are women in STEM so important?

There are many reasons why we need more women in STEM. For starters, a diverse workforce brings fresh, creative thinking and new approaches to problem-solving. This is already a trend we’ve been seeing in recent years. Women have been contributing to the success of the scientific, engineering, and technological industries around the world.

An increase in the number of women can also help improve the talent pool for hiring managers. There are often more jobs available in STEM than there are workers, which can make things tricky for businesses. Women entering the workforce can fill those jobs. 

There are also many economic benefits to women becoming involved in STEM. Because of the increased number of workers and ideas, more products and technologies can be produced, boosting the economy. That can make businesses more competitive and can even improve the success of the industry as a whole. In some parts of the world, an increase in the number of women in STEM can also lead to more socio-economic development and progress in society.

How women in STEM can get ahead

If you are a woman hoping to enter the STEM industry, there are some things you can do to be successful. Keep these tips in mind as you are going through the process:

  • Make goals. As you are planning your career in STEM, develop short- and long-term goals.

  • Support others. Choose an industry you are passionate about and support other women now and throughout your career.

  • Develop yourself. Be an advocate for yourself and your ideas and always strive to develop skills so you can continue to grow in the industry.

  • Network. Join groups, attend seminars, and build a network of STEM workers.

  • Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try new things and learn from any failures you have.

5 Top jobs for women in STEM

Once you’ve decided that a career in STEM is the right choice for you, it’s time to narrow down your options. Here’s a look at some of the top jobs in STEM with high projected growth rates and generally great pay: 

1. Computer systems analyst

Those working in this job are responsible for improving computer systems and developing ways to make them more efficient. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) anticipates 10% growth in this field over the next 10 years, and the 2022 annual median pay was $102,250. 

2. Software developers and QA assurance analyst/tester

Software developers analyze user needs and design software programs to meet those needs, then QA analysts test that software to ensure it’s functioning optimally before launching to users. AI has made strides in this area, but the demand for software developers and testers is still high. The OOH estimates a 25% projected job growth, with the 2022 median pay at $124,200.

3. Statistician

With an average annual salary of $99,960 and 30% growth rate, this is a solid choice as well. A statistician collects data before analyzing it and interpreting the results. One of the great things about this job is you can work in just about any industry, including healthcare and technology.

4. Medical scientist

This covers a broad range of jobs, all with a goal of understanding and improving human health. This job relies  upon heavy analysis and research. The projected job growth here is 17%, with an average annual salary of $91,510.

5. Environmental engineer

This is another growing field, with a 6% growth rate and median annual salary of $96,530. These engineers use their expertise to find solutions to environmental challenges and prevent, control, or fix environmental hazards. 

If you are ready to find the perfect career for you, stop by our career pathways service page to learn how we can help you be more successful.

Key takeaways

  1. STEM has long been a heavily male-dominated industry, but the number of women has increased over the years.

  2. More women in STEM can bring about new ideas, a better talent pool for employers, and an improved economy.

  3. Standing up for yourself, continually learning, and networking with other professionals in your industry are all ways you can get ahead in the STEM industry.

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