The technical and engineering sectors are still male-dominated, and the pipeline for incoming talent is currently insufficient to meet future needs. Without more women in technology and manufacturing, GE expects the skills gap to widen, impacting productivity and diminishing the potential of digital and other new technologies transforming industry and manufacturing.
Among the major tech giants, women are still underrepresented, making up 13%–24% of tech-related jobs, with only 17%–30% ascending to leadership positions. One study showed that more gender diverse companies performed 53% better than lesser ones, including a 35% increase in ROE and a 34% increase in total returns, and MIT economists found that a gender shift could increase revenue by 41%. According to the OECD, closing the gender gap could also increase GDP by up to 10% by 2030. The increased involvement of women in the sector will have real and positive socioeconomic impact.
The commercial imperative, coupled with the ongoing challenges of recruiting and retaining top female talent in STEM jobs, means organizations must make continued, real investment in closing the gender gap. In that spirit, GE has set goals of having 20,000 women fill STEM roles at GE by 2020 and obtaining 50:50 representation for all our technical entry-level programs. These global goals aim to inject urgency into addressing ongoing gender imbalance in technical fields and to significantly increase the representation of women in GE’s engineering, manufacturing, IT and product management roles.
The progress that GE has made as a company positions it well to accelerate next steps. GE builds on a strong foundation, including the achievement of a 50:50 gender ratio in its 2016 Edison Engineering Development Program class, the work across its Women’s Network and GE Girls programs, and the introduction of contemporary benefits programs.
GE’s holistic approach outlines clear actions, including the expansion of universities from which GE recruits talent, with more focus on institutions that have a contemporary gender mix, and the introduction of the Chief Technology Officer Advisory Council to inform future retention strategies, including career advancement and leadership development opportunities.
GE also will continue to benchmark, explore and implement employee programs and benefits that foster an inclusive culture to enable flexibility for working families. These programs or benefits include but are not limited to: Parental leave, family-friendly work, affordable childcare and enhanced parental leave. Data-driven research proves that more gender diversity is essential to economic competitiveness because more diverse teams equal more diverse, innovative solutions. Ultimately, this is a necessary strategy for GE to fully transform into a digital industrial company for the future.
Read GE’s white paper that outlines the socioeconomic case for more gender diversity, “Engineering the Future: The Socio-Economic Case for Gender Equality,” here.
Read GE Chief Technology Officer Vic Abate’s perspective on creating a more balanced, technical workforce here.
Learn more about the world that GE envisions creating: