Study: Women in STEM are struggling the most in the workplace

Story at a glance

  • Metlife research shows that women in STEM workplaces are struggling.  

  • A new study released Thursday shows that women in STEM are leaving their jobs at twice the rate of women outside of the industry.  

  • The primary reason women in STEM said they are leaving was due to stress and or burnout.  

Women working in the industries of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are nearly twice as likely to say they are considering leaving their job right now compared to women in other industries, according to a new survey.  

Life insurance company MetLife released its 2022 Women in STEM study on Thursday which is made up of two surveys; one of 310 human resources workers at STEM companies and another of over 2,400 people between the ages of 18 and 65 in the U.S workforce.  

Out of the U.S workers surveyed, a little over 760 reported working in STEM.  

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Metlife’s study findings show that 22 percent of women working in STEM are considering leaving their workforce right now compared to just 12 percent of women working in other fields.  

Women in STEM most frequently cited stress and burnout as the reason they want to leave the field, according to the study.  

A total of 32 percent of women in STEM surveyed said stress and or burnout was the top reason they wanted to leave their job immediately.  

Another 29 percent said “seeing others getting promoted ahead of them” was the reason they wanted to leave their post and 25 percent said a lack of purposeful or meaningful work primary reason they hoped to leave soon. And 20 percent cited a lack of diversity at their company as the main reason they wanted to leave.  

Many women in STEM reported that sexism in the industry is alive and well. The study found that 70 percent of women in STEM believed their employer valued their male colleagues more than them, compared to 38 percent of women working in other fields said the same.  

The study also found that women in STEM are more likely to have suffered a setback in their career since the pandemic started in 2020 compared to other U.S. workers.  

Over 20 percent of women in STEM were forced to take a pay cut at some point during the pandemic, compared to 15 percent of people in the total U.S. workforce.  

Women in STEM also had higher rates of taking medical leave, being furloughed and taking family or caregiver leave compared to women working in other industries, according to the study.  

While the study’s findings mainly paint a dismal picture of the inequality women in STEM experience, not all of the findings were negative.  

Study crafters also found that for every three women who left a career in STEM, two said they planned or were trying to return to field.  

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