If you are a women working in a technology-based industry, what are your attitudes toward career and future opportunities? Women in Research, a global nonprofit group for women in the market research industry, wanted to find out the answer. Five years ago, a baseline study was done to chart gender parity in the market research industry, and a second round was recently conducted to indicate five-year progress — or lack thereof. New results show there is still much room for improvement, and employers in the market research space – and STEM industries in general – should take note on ways to increase opportunities for women to succeed.

The findings

The study found that women are climbing further up the corporate ladder and are highly motivated to grow, yet men still assume the lion’s share of the top positions, particularly in larger organizations. The gender pay gap is shrinking at the senior level, particularly outside of the U.S., with women making some compensation gains through bonuses. But in spite of this, compensation among parents shows sizeable and increased disparity.

The study also found that job and career satisfaction is stagnant among women while it rises among males. Furthermore, females perceive more barriers to growth than males, such as parenting, lack of training and opportunities, company culture and lower pay. Work-life balance is deemed more obstructive among mothers than fathers.

Give support early

Results of the study suggest that women in the STEM industries, like market research, data science and beyond, need to be approached early in their career to assist in mapping goals, training plans and leadership coaching. Companies need to focus on the needs of current and future parents — both mothers and fathers — with benefits like flexible hours, support groups and childcare partnerships. But to truly drive change, companies need to start treating diversity as a business performance metric, and commit to 50/50 gender parity at every organizational level.