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New Survey Reveals CEOs of 100 of the Fastest Growing U.S. Science and Technology Companies Fear Rising International Competition for Scientific and Technical Talent

Submitted by: Bayer

Categories: Community Development

Posted: May 09, 2006 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Disconnect over Women, African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans As Untapped Talent Pool

PITTSBURGH - Many CEOs of some of the fastest growing American science and technology companies* are aware of recent national reports warning the United States is in danger of losing its global leadership role in science and technology due to a potential shortfall in the number of scientists and engineers it produces, coupled with an increase in global competition for these professionals.

In addition, CEOs are concerned about this rising competition for scientific and technical workers and fear their company's international competitors, having access to this same talent, will gain a competitive advantage.

At the same time, while many CEOs acknowledge that their industries still suffer from a lack of women, African-American, Native American and Hispanic American STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, they appear not to fully recognize the untapped talent pool embodied by these underrepresented groups.

These are among the central findings of a new survey in which CEOs and other C-Level executives (i.e., Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, et al.) from emerging STEM companies were polled on a variety of manpower, workforce diversity, education and science literacy issues. The survey was commissioned by Bayer Corporation as part of its Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) program.

The Bayer Facts of Science Education XII: CEOs on STEM Diversity: The Need, The Seed, The Feed surveyed 100 of these senior executives who lead primarily independent U.S. companies that specialize in biotechnology, computers, communications networking, life sciences and engineering, among others.

The Need: Current and Imminent STEM Workforce Challenges

Recently, the independent, nonprofit Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology released reports showing that today women make up only 25 percent of the STEM workforce and minorities are much less than that. Some, including the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, argue that if the United States could attract more women and minorities to STEM fields and approach parity among these groups, we could resolve the growing talent pool problem and global competitiveness issues simultaneously.

Is underrepresentation an issue for the CEOs?

Two-thirds (65 percent) confirm that underrepresentation exists in their industry, but fewer say it exists within their own companies. The CEOs are, in fact, split over this, with 53 percent saying it doesn't exist and 45 percent saying it does. Few CEOs (16 percent) view underrepresentation as a manpower issue.

Further, three-quarters (74 percent) do not feel frustrated by their company's difficulty in hiring women and minorities for STEM positions. In fact, more than one-half (53 percent) are not frustrated at all.

However, manpower issues are very important, with four in five CEOs polled (78 percent) reporting they are concerned that the United States is in danger of losing its global predominance in science and technology due to manpower shortage issues, and one-third (33 percent) are "very concerned." In addition, well over one-half (57 percent) are concerned that their company will be able to attract and retain the scientific and technically trained employees it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

"Despite many of the executives being aware of the recent national warning reports, a good proportion have not yet fully made the connection between the potential STEM manpower shortage issue and the potential untapped talent pool that exists in those individuals who are still not well represented in these fields," said Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the nation's first African-American female astronaut; CEO of BioSentient Inc., an emerging medical devices company; and Bayer's national MSMS spokesperson.

"Having said that, the survey reveals a core group of executives who have made this connection and are actively taking steps to cultivate women and minorities," Dr. Jemison added.

The Feed: Nurturing Women and Minority Employees in the Workforce

Dr. Jemison said there is also good news in the widespread recognition among the CEOs about the benefits of a diverse workforce, meaning one that includes women, African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans. Three-quarters (74 percent) say such a workforce is beneficial to their company's success, with one-quarter (25 percent) saying it enables diversity of ideas, perspectives, skills and solutions. Another 14 percent say diversity strengthens the company and contributes to its growth and success.

"Diversity is and will continue to be a driving factor behind the country's success in making scientific and technological advancements. The challenge we as CEOs face in working to bring students into STEM fields is: providing them with the early, pre-college educational foundation in science and math; encouraging them as they move through the STEM education pipeline; and then creating a corporate culture that recognizes and honors their professional accomplishments - what we are calling the 'Need, Seed and Feed'," explained Bayer Corporation President and CEO Dr. Attila Molnar.

The executives agree. Almost all (91 percent) acknowledge that it is important (56 percent "very important") for women and minorities to hold senior management positions within STEM companies so that younger female and minority employees have inspirational role models and mentors. Additionally, many of the executives (59 percent) believe their companies do an excellent job ensuring women and minorities receive appropriate promotions, raises and recognition. One-third (35 percent) thinks their company could do a better job in this regard.

The Seed: Growing a Diverse American STEM Pipeline

When it comes to developing and engaging today's female and underrepresented minority students in STEM, Bayer Corporation's Dr. Molnar says, "We CEOs, and the industry in general, still have work to do." For example, despite the fact that more than eight in ten (83 percent) CEOs say STEM companies have a role to play in ensuring that women and minorities succeed in science and engineering fields, few of those polled - only one in five (21 percent) - say they have specific programs in place to recruit women and minority STEM workers.

This disconnect appears elsewhere. For instance, nine in ten (91 percent) believe it is important for STEM companies to support pre-college science education programs that help create the next generation of inventors, innovators and discoverers (55 percent "very important") and virtually all (98 percent) agree that "direct contact with scientists and engineers is an effective way to help students better appreciate careers in science and engineering." Still, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (62 percent) say neither their companies nor their employees participate in the kind of pre-college education programs that are designed to attract, encourage and sustain girls' and minority students' interest in math and science.

Further, more than one-half (53 percent) say their companies do not effectively communicate the message to today's female and minority students that there are significant job opportunities for these students in today's STEM fields. (In last year's Bayer Facts survey of parents of these school-age children, an overwhelming 88 percent said the STEM communities need to do a better job communicating this message to their children.)

"What we're seeing here is that there is a tremendous opportunity on the part of STEM companies to get involved in a variety of ways with today's students and their STEM education. Whether it's initiating outreach with them and beginning a dialogue about the need for them in these fields, providing role models and mentors, or actively supporting education programs that have a track record of success with girls and minorities - the opportunity is certainly there," explained Molnar.

The Bayer Facts of Science Education survey series, part of an ongoing annual public opinion research project, is one component of Bayer's company-wide Making Science Make Sense® initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and a public education campaign. Currently, 12 Bayer sites around the country operate local MSMS programs, which together represent a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is part of the worldwide Bayer Group, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2005 net sales of 7.3 billion euros and employed 16,200 at year end. Bayer's three operating companies -- Bayer HealthCare LLC, Bayer CropScience LP and Bayer MaterialScience LLC -- improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose and treat diseases, protect crops and advance automobile safety and durability. Bayer AG stock is a component of the DAX and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: BAY).

*Results of The Bayer Facts of Science Education XII, conducted by ICR (International Communications Research), are based on a telephone poll of 100 CEOs and other C-Level executives of some of America's fastest growing science and technology companies. Each year, Deloitte & Touche, the accounting/consulting firm, ranks the fastest-growing technology companies in North America based on revenue growth over five years. The Deloitte & Touche listings from 2001 through 2005 were compiled in order to create a master list of companies and edited to contain only companies based in the United States. Survey respondents were drawn from this list. The statistical reliability achieved conducting the 100 interviews is a maximum +/- 9.8 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

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CEOs On U.S. Science Education, Girls And Minorities

PITTSBURGH - In the latest Bayer Facts of Science Education survey, CEOs and other C-level executives of 100 of some of the fastest growing American science and technology companies were asked a number of questions about girls, minorities and U.S. STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). Here's what they had to say:

  • CEOs assigned an average grade of "C-" (2.87) to the U.S. pre-college or K-12 education system for the job it is doing engaging and nurturing girls and minorities to pursue STEM careers.

  • Higher education fared somewhat better with CEOs assigning it an average "C+" grade for training girls and minorities for STEM careers. In addition, more than one-half (56 percent) believe U.S. colleges and universities are doing a good job preparing students for workplace realities.

  • Almost all the CEOs (96 percent) say it is important (72 percent "very important") that girls and minorities receive a strong science and math education beginning in elementary school in order to eliminate their underrepresentation in STEM fields

  • Some eight in ten (81 percent) say, that in elementary school, science should be taught as the fourth "R" and given as much emphasis as reading, writing, arithmetic.

  • They (82 percent) believe elementary school students should be learning science through hands-on, inquiry-based methods that allow students to conduct experiments, form opinions and discuss and defend their conclusions with others - rather than through the traditional textbook-based, rote memorization method.

  • Eight in ten (83 percent) believe STEM companies have a role to play in ensuring that women and minorities succeed in science and engineering fields and almost all (91 percent) say it is important for their companies to support pre-college science education programs that help create the next generation of inventors, innovators and discoverers (55 percent "very important".)

  • And while only approximately one-third (37 percent) say their companies and/or employees engage in such programs, nearly three in five (56%) of CEOs whose companies/employees do not yet participate, say they would indeed like to.

  • For more information, please contact:

    Sarah Toulouse Bayer Media Line
    Phone: 412-777-5200

    For more from this organization:

    Bayer

     

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