According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, women make up 50 percent of the workforce, yet women only account for 24 percent of the STEM workforce and 50 percent of women drop out of STEM positions in the first 10 years.

Given that 71 percent of jobs in 2018 will require STEM skills and STEM jobs pay women better—according to the White House, women in STEM make 92 cents for every dollar a man makes versus the average of 77 cents on a dollar—advancing girls and young women in STEM will be critical. 

A mentoring solution

Mentoring will be a vital tool to recruiting and retaining more women in STEM fields. Mentoring counters negative stereotypes, shows STEM careers are hard yet rewarding and offers insight into the various pathways (educational, internships, etc.) to achieve a successful STEM careers.

To reaffirm Linda D. Hallman, CAE, Executive Director and CEO of the American Association of University Women, “We need to do more than just tell young girls that they can be engineers, rocket scientists or computer programmers. Mentors can inspire girls and give them an idea of what it’s like to work in STEM.” Mentoring has also proven to retain employees. A recent study showed:

  • Employees who mentored were promoted 6 times more often than peers who did not

  • Employees who were mentored were promoted 5 times more often than peers who weren’t

  • Twenty-five percent of employees who mentored received a salary grade change, as opposed to 5 percent of employees who did not mentor

  • Employees who participated in the mentoring program had a 20-percent higher retention rate than those who did not mentor