Increasing gender diversity in STEM through targeted communication
Although the proportion of women in higher education within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has increased in recent years, there is still a large gender imbalance both on the courses and among the graduates. It is a problem if young people consciously or unconsciously feel that there are courses that they cannot apply for or fit into because of their gender. At the same time, it is a lost gain for employers, given that increased gender diversity has shown to have positive effects on both finances and well-being in the workplace, and also in finding the right solutions for solving future societal challenges within e.g. health, climate and IT security.
To understand what drives young people’s – and especially women’s – educational choices, Epinion is engaged in ongoing collaboration with Engineer the Future (ETF) on how the organisation can target communications and campaigns to attract new young talent. In 2021, Epinion conducted a comprehensive survey of more than 1,500 young people aged 15-24 on, among other things, their professional and personal interests, clarity and readiness with regard to future education, and factors of importance for educational choices and job choices. In addition to generating new knowledge about the target group, the aim of the study was to constitute a strategic baseline tool for ETF by forming a starting point for subsequent monitoring of young people’s interest in STEM.
Based on data on young people’s educational choices, interests, and characteristics, Epinion has developed five segments. These segments function as operational ideal types that ETF can use as a starting point in its strategic work with the target group in information and campaign work. The segments serve as a tool for ETF to ensure that communication about STEM courses is targeted towards young people’s interests and identity so that more people – including women in particular – can see themselves in a STEM discipline. Specifically, the segments are included in briefs and idea development for campaign agencies, in prioritising media spend and in the internal strategic work with the target group.