At ESCO, we take this challenge
personally. Pew’s findings follow decades of concern about how to best promote
diversity and inclusion in the STEM workforce. While women today make up only 29% of the science and
engineering workforce, we believe the best way that ESCO supports long-term
gender equality in the workforce is by making investments in time, resources
and skills development of local STEM education at the K-12 and college levels.
As an example, we have recently encouraged
our female engineers in Portland to volunteer with organizations like Girls,
Inc. to bring science programs into the community. In nearby schools they
provide specific support to young learners who show an interest in STEM
subjects. At the college level, female students gain technical work experience
through ESCO internships with our engineering professionals. Our
partnerships with Oregon State University and Portland State University also
encourage diverse groups of students to study STEM, while helping to build the
talent pipeline of women within our technical communities.
STEM industries must commit to
developing gender parity within the workforce. Companies like ESCO must
encourage and help women receive the training they need to find and retain employment
in these fields, specifically in engineering and computer jobs. The share of
women in computer jobs has decreased from 32% in 1990 to 25% in 2016, while the
percentage of women in engineering jobs has risen slightly from 12% in 1990 to
14% in 2016. Simply put, a long-term change-of-course is needed.
In 2014 we founded the ESCO Women’s
Network (EWN) “to facilitate ESCO women coming together in support of our
vision and mission.” The EWN seeks not only to provide opportunities for ESCO
women to network, connect, and learn, but also to take a more active role in
retaining and developing female leaders, while promoting diversity in our
workforce. Each EWN event is dedicated to cultivating the career success of our
female colleagues through mentorship, leadership development, as well as professional
growth and learning.
ESCO is committed to help create the
next-generation workforce by supporting STEM education. This isn’t only a
challenge for us. It needs to be a focus of industry, education and public communities.
Investing in education is a worthy and long-term solution to ensure that the women
of our future have equal access to exciting, meaningful and well-paying