As of 2016, 17.3 million workers ages 25 and older were employed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) occupations, comprising 13% of the 131.3 million total U.S. workforce. About half of STEM workers (52%, 9.0 million) are employed as health care practitioners and technicians, a group that includes nurses, physicians and surgeons, as well as medical and health services managers. The next largest STEM occupational clusters are computer workers (25%, 4.4 million employed) and engineers and architects (16%, 2.7 million employed).
Under-Represented Segments in STEM Fields
Although women have made gains in representation in the STEM workforce over the past roughly 25 years, particularly in life and physical science jobs, they remain strongly under-represented in some STEM job clusters, notably computer jobs and engineering.
Racial and ethnic diversity in STEM is also varied. Black and Hispanic workers remain under-represented overall; these groups are also under-represented among those in STEM jobs with professional or doctoral degrees.
Technical Conference Representation
Conferences, and especially tech conferences, are an area where there is often still a noticeable lack of diversity in presenters. Speaking engagements, session chair positions and receiving awards at national meetings are essential stepping stones towards professional success for those in technical fields. Studies of gender parity in meetings of national scientific societies repeatedly uncover bias in speaker selection, engendering under-representation of women among featured presenters.
There has also been an advent tech conferences appealing to particular races. The Plug recently researched more than 15 annual Black tech conferences to understand if and how these niche conferences are shaping inclusive cultures within the tech industry. Spearheaded by Black millennials, the newly minted Black tech conferences seek to be the meeting ground for Black talent to meet HR recruiters and connect founders to technical and financial resources by way of networking, exposure and empowerment. The content and the culture for creating a safe space has yet to be quantified in formal datasets, but is part of a growing trend that is worth watching.
LiveWorx Diversity Initiative
The LiveWorx team has a goal to reflect more gender and racial diversity in STEM fields represented at our event. We've put processes in place to make sure a diverse, international, and inclusive group of speakers is represented.
One of our event partners is Innovation Women, an online speaker's bureau designed to connect entrepreneurial, innovative and technical women with event managers looking for speakers and panelists. Innovation Women is a great resource for any organization looking to diversify their pool of thought leaders and technical experts.
In 2018, 11.5% of LiveWorx presenters were female and racial diversity was low as well. This year, the target is to have 30% of presenters come from diverse backgrounds inclusive of gender and race. To achieve this goal, we’re striving to eliminate all male panels (i.e. "manels") and sourcing more women and minorities for premier presenter roles such as Keynotes and Track Spotlights. We’re also suggesting that companies nominate more diverse speakers who may not have presented before to help spur their career growth. All LiveWorx presenters are offered in-depth presentation coaching to help give them more confidence in their abilities.
We're excited to share our outstanding line-up of presenters in February, 2019. Be sure to join us in Boston from June 10-13!