Amid the increasing conversation regarding diversity and inclusion, it is important to understand the role they both play in the fields of STEM, and how we at Thermo Fisher Scientific are delivering on our strategy to foster an empowering environment for our colleagues, partners, and aspiring scientists around the world.
Diversity and Inclusion in the STEM Workforce
Despite diversity increasing throughout a majority of workforces in the United States, the U.S. STEM workforce has trailed, behind with 69% of workers being white and 72% of workers being male (Pew Research Center), compared with the general workforce, where 62% is white (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) and 66% is male (Statista). In the STEM fields, diversity and inclusion play key roles in advancing science. It can be argued that a large portion of what creates scientific progression is the collaboration of diverse experiences and minds. A group of scientists with variations of perspectives and experiences can lead to new insights that would otherwise not be thought of.
In fact, companies with more diversity are more likely to attain profitability and value long term, with ethnically and culturally diverse companies performing 35% better compared to competitors (Arch Point Consulting). Diversity and inclusion are now being used as key metrics to measure potential growth and success. Lacking a diverse workforce could limit possibilities and hinder long term growth.
Empowering Scientists through STEM Education
Cultivating talent and pushing for success in scientific advancement must start from an educational level. To increase diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, STEM education should be encouraged in children at the very beginning of their education. Failure to support or encourage students that have interest in pursuing a career in STEM studies can lead to a lack of opportunity, and therefore a lack of diverse talent.
At Thermo Fisher, we partner with several nonprofits and STEM education foundations, enabling us to demonstrate our commitment to fostering inclusivity in the STEM fields. Since 2015, Thermo Fisher has partnered with Boys and Girls Club of America, and The China Youth Development Fund to cultivate young talent throughout the world by providing funding for hands on STEM education activities.
Through The Just Project, an initiative providing testing infrastructure to all HBCU member schools at no cost, we assisted in ensuring a safe opening of school campuses due to COVID, as the pandemic has disproportionately affected minorities.
Our most recent work to increase awareness is through This is How I Science, a series of interviews hosted by The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar, featuring six up and coming scientists who discuss their experiences and the paths they took to get them to their careers in science today. Each scientist shares their unique story, answering questions about hardships, obstacles, and accomplishments in their fields of STEM, along with what they hope to achieve in the future.
The Future of Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
At Thermo Fisher our goal is to encourage diversity and inclusion to cultivate an empowering and innovative work environment for all scientists. We are committed to creating a global environment that embraces our colleagues’ unique qualities and differences. In diving deeper into the scientific community and having conversations about underrepresentation, we are taking steps to make the scientific world a more diverse and inclusive place.
What does diversity and inclusion in science/STEM mean to you? Do you want to share your story? Show us how you “science” with a picture and hashtag #thisishowIscience.
About the Author:
Thermo Fisher Scientific intern Claire Barthelemy is currently a senior at Loyola Marymount University majoring in Marketing.