The problem of getting more young women into science and high-tech fields is getting a lot of recent attention, from a newly launched national mentorship program for budding female scientists to Super Bowl ads for engineering toys designed for girls.
But keeping them in those fields — and helping them reach the top — may be an even bigger challenge. A new report to be released Wednesday afternoon from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), the research think tank founded by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, finds that U.S. women working in these fields are 45 percent more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within the year.
In addition, the study also found that nearly a third of senior leaders — both male and female — who work in science, engineering and technology fields reported that a woman would never reach the top position in their company. “Even the senior guys who are in a position to make change for the women in their company don’t feel like they can do it,” says Laura Sherbin, the director of research for CTI.