When venturing into the world of successful female engineers, Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, is one such person of note. Having climbed through the ranks throughout her career, Burns is a brilliant female engineer who started her academic career in chemical engineering (an educational choice which she notes with disdain) but finished up schooling as a mechanical engineer. She started as an intern at Xerox in upstate New York while attending an ivy league school in a graduate degree program. After signing on with Xerox, today she is their CEO. She’s handled major acquisitions which have transformed Xerox from a copy and printing company into a technology and services enterprise. As a young girl, she was always told she had three strikes against her – one that she was black, two she was a girl, and three she came from a poor family.
As recruiters for engineering and technical roles, we pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to achieve diversity in gender and race. Our database of highly qualified female engineers are screened and interviewed with one focus in mind – to ensure that an individual’s skill and personality type fits in with your organizational culture.
Companies are being inspired to re-think their unconscious biases and start opening up options for female engineers, black engineers, and much more. The effect of diversifying a company at all levels in order to be inclusive, as well as fill the gaps that some H1B workers may leave will have a two-fold effect. Firstly, gender and race bias as it pertains to engineering talent is a prevalent issue throughout the STEM field. Studies have shown that there are salary discrepancies when it comes to race and gender but with freed salary allocations that gap may be filled with a growing US workforce. Additionally, more diverse teams are proven to provide more comprehensive problem solving with better results, independent of specialization. In 2004 Scott Page, professor of complex systems at University of Michigan, published an experiment which used mathematical algorithms as a stand-in for people to prove this point. Through his experiments he was able to prove that problem solvers from a diverse array of backgrounds delivered better results.
With the right talent and a diverse team, new employees from different backgrounds can become a huge asset to your company. By developing this approach we’ve found that there’s an increased likelihood in creating real innovation and stand-out talent within your firm. By offering an equal platform and opportunity for employees of any race, gender, or background, you’re offering valuable individuals a real chance to grow with your company and become a permanent and invaluable fixture.
Ursula Burns, had a dream of becoming an engineer when she was little and had she listened to the three strikes against her, she would not have pursued her academic and professional career. The unconscious bias towards her race and gender, was and is to this day, flawed. So what should companies be doing differently? If you are in human resources or the owner of a manufacturing or technology business you are aware that engineering talent is an essential for your industry. Whether you employ chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, process engineers, robotics experts – or any other professionals in the wide range of industry verticals – you have the power to be influencing your coworkers and management to think beyond gender and race. The focus should be on skill, performance outcome, and reaping the benefits of a diverse problem solving team.
Mentorship programs are also encouraged. In almost all tech businesses there are a lack of women engineers in senior management to mentor all of the novice junior women engineers. This could be a win-win all around and result in better communication when voicing difficult issues such as maternity leave, work-life balance, and how to deal with gender and race unconscious biases. This could also be enhanced with training sessions around unconscious bias, or as some call it, implicit bias.
In our world as engineering and technical recruiters we want to work with companies to design our executive searches that are aligned with company values to attract the right talent and skillset. Having a more unbiased view on gender and race may simply open up new opportunities, new skills, and yield innovation and growth with local talent.
Integress engineering headhunters and recruiters are located in Southern California and Chicago, but we work with technology and engineering companies throughout the USA. For an initial complimentary consultation, contact us today.