Can digital advertising influence more women to take-up STEM courses and roles?

Guest Author, Rachel Nichols

An unsettling difference

There are more female entrepreneurs today than there ever have been before. But a worrying statistic lies beneath the surface. The number of women graduating in core STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) courses has dropped from 25% to 24%. This drop-in percentage is not due to the decreased number of women, but a failure to match the growing figures of men graduating in the STEM field.

So we’re asking the question can digital advertising help influence more women into STEM courses and roles?

Women are not only under-represented in the world of STEM, but they are also paid less than men. The gender pay gap is a hot topic and has been challenged for years, yet women still do not earn as much as men. Companies such as Dyson UK are vocal about their desire for the pay gap to be closed and actively seek to recruit more women. The company has set up the renowned Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, which currently has 27% female undergraduates, with an end-goal to increase this number by 50%.

Digital advertising as a recruitment tool

Picture a young woman, indecisive about what educational subjects to take, even though she excels at mathematics and science. Her indecisiveness accelerated by the fact that she is not confident nor knowledgeable about the opportunities within her reach. How can this be changed? Recruiters have the power to support young women’s goals by using one powerful tool: digital advertising.

The internet has changed the recruitment process dramatically. Recruiters have to turn the entire internet into a job board. Technological advances also give recruiters the power to attract and encourage women to apply to STEM roles. The burning question remains: how can this be achieved?

Successful digital advertising campaigns must have compelling content that resonates with women who are hesitant to pursue STEM careers. Motivating testimonials and short films about women who are in reach of their STEM career goals are a crucial, emotive key to encouraging others. In addition, digital advertising must be targeted at the right demographic and on the right platform. As of 2018, 84% and 80% of women in the UK use Facebook and Youtube, a percentage that recruiters cannot ignore. With the new technology of ‘boosted’ social media adverts, recruiters can reach these women with informative adverts and kickstart their careers.

Amazon leads the way

Image result for amazon amplify

This month, Amazon has launched the programme “Amazon Amplify”, aiming to improve the recruitment of women in STEM roles. The company states that “inclusive’ interview questions will be implemented into the recruitment process which will identify potential employees who share their goal of improving diversity. The programme also includes the Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, with £130,000 allocated a year for up to twenty-four female students to pursue a career in technology and an Amazon degree apprenticeship programme. It is imperative that recruiters use digital advertising to follow in Amazon’s footsteps and target the appropriate candidates, ultimately working to boost the percentage of women in the STEM field.

The takeaway

By using digital advertising to launch emotive and compelling campaigns, recruiters have the power to change the statistics of the STEM world. Recruiters can target the women who have the potential to pursue courses and roles revolving around STEM, but do not feel as though it is an option for them. With giant companies such as Dyson and Amazon igniting the spark, recruiters must continue to fan the flames and make a difference.

Speak to us

Contact our Ad-Ops team about recruitment through digital advertising, email [email protected].

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