Magazine article Working Mother

The Changing Face of STEM

Magazine article Working Mother

The Changing Face of STEM

Article excerpt

Anjali Jamdar sees the technology industry's lack of diversity firsthand. As vice president of executive recruiting at CA Technologies, she's on the front lines, looking out for prospective candidates for senior tech jobs.

So when young girls turn to her for advice about technology careers, Anjali encourages them to get involved in science, technology, engineering or math activities. Even if their friends aren't involved-even if they're surrounded by boys. "Push yourself into as many experiences as possible," says the mom of Maya, 13, and Reyva, 10. "You never know. You may love it."

Anjali, who is South Asian, hopes the message resonates and that more girls, including more girls of color, join the technology ranks. So far, though, they're in short supply. Women hold only 26 percent of computing jobs, and women of color a fraction of those, according to a report by the American Association of University Women. What's more, 52 percent of women in science, engineering and technology positions drop out over time, forced out by difficult work environments, isolation and lack of sponsorship, shows another report, this one from the Center for Talent Innovation. In other words, the tech industry still has a long way to go to close the gender and racial divide.

Leading the way, however, are CA Technologies, IBM, Cisco and Verizon, four tech-focused companies that are 2016 Best Companies for Multicultural Women. Each has shown a commitment to making diversity a priority. Nearly 40 percent of IBM's multicultural women, for example, participate in mentoring, a rate that's 10 points higher than the average of our top 25 companies. CA Technologies posted lower than average attrition rates for multicultural women, a testament to its culture, while at Cisco and CA Technologies, all managers took part in diversity education courses last year.

"It's a complex issue," says Beth Conway, vice president of human resources for CA Technologies, an IT-management software provider headquartered in New York City. "I don't pretend to think we have all the answers. But we're trying new things and taking risks. That's the key to making forward progress."

One of CA Technologies' experiments has been to tap social media. Last year, the tech company led the #worklovelead campaign on Twitter. Originating at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the initiative encouraged women to post a photo of themselves holding a sign that filled in the blanks: "I am __. I love __. I lead __." The idea was to showcase the wide range of women in the technology industry. It worked. One woman shared that she is an engineer who loves to sing. Another was a mom of two boys who loves to bike. More than 170 women joined in, including women from Asia, Latin America and Europe.

CA Technologies also ramped up its efforts in recruiting. "One of the keys to building a diverse workforce is hidden in the recruiting process," says Beth. "The hypothesis is that if you take the opportunity to cast a wider net and bring in more diverse talent in the decision-making process, you come up with more diverse results."

It's not just talk. CA Technologies' recruiters are measured by the percentage of positions for which a diverse candidate is presented to the hiring manager. Since instituting the program three years ago, the company has increased the diversity of its applicant pool by 25 percent. Last year, it also began an initiative to ensure that each interview panel at the general recruiting level includes at least one woman. A telling result: Of its seniormanagement hires, 13 percent were multicultural women, compared with an average of 9 percent reflected by this year's top 25 companies. …

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