The Big-Picture

STEM and Gender

STEM and Gender

Responsible organizations prioritize and practice diversity and gender inclusion. STEM organizations are particularly challenged with this responsibility because there are simply not enough women graduating with STEM degrees. Consider this:   

  • Women represent only 38% of postsecondary students enrolled in STEM fields  

    • Engineering and engineering technology: 20.2% 

    • Mathematics and computer and information sciences: 28.0% 

    • Science and science technology: 56.9%

  • In 2019, women accounted for less than a quarter (23.6%) of working professionals in natural and applied sciences and related occupations. 

  • In 2017, women earned just over one-third (35.8%) of all STEM related degrees in Canada.  

  • Among STEM graduates in 2016, men were more likely (41. 5%) to work in STEM jobs than women (22.5%).  

The reason women are less likely to pursue postsecondary STEM degrees is the subject of a larger, more complex discussion. The issue here remains: for STEM organizations to achieve gender inclusion objectives, a talent pool with minimal female representation creates challenges.  

Action that Helps - Employer Sponsored Student Loan Repayment Assistance  

STEM organizations seeking gender diversity can position themselves as employers of choice within a limited talent pool of qualified female STEM graduates. Offering a student loan benefit is one way for organizations to stand out. And the reasons are simple:   

  • Woman account for approximately 60% of all student loan borrowers 

  • Women owe an average of 8.2% more in student debt  than men 

  • Women take on average two years longer to pay back loans than men 

In short, student debt is a worry for all genders but a greater worry for women. Organizations offering benefits that address the largest financial concern of new female STEM graduates may very well get your company on the shortlist of employer choices.  

To learn more about the employer sponsored student loan repayment assistance benefit, please contact [email protected]  



Gender gaps: The effects of pay transparency and women in STEM occupations 

Proportion of male and female postsecondary enrolments