Last year Austin was declared the №1 American metropolitan area to start business by CNBC.(1)
When deciding on where to start a business, obviously, there are many things to take in consideration. Probably the first ones that come to mind are taxes and regulations, but what might be just as important are demographic factors. Is there a big enough supply of those professionals your business will need? Do they have the characteristics you are looking for?
Austin is not only a good choice for businesses in general but regarding workforce supply as well. The city has many universities which generate countless prospect employees each year, The University of Texas alone has over 50,000 students.(2) So the number of professionals available is nothing to be worried about.
What about the characteristics? It has been proven that diversity helps problem solving and enhances effectiveness in work groups(3), so having employees with different background and gender is something companies should strive for. Considering that Austin had the fastest growing tech scene in the U.S. in 2015(4), one can assume that computer science professionals and engineers are in high demand in the city. But is it possible to have a diverse group of people within these fields? Of course, it might only be a bit more difficult. In a previous article you could read about the gender gap in STEM(5) where it was explained why these fields (Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematics) are male dominated. Within STEM, Engineering is most severely affected by the gender gap, currently only 13% of practicing engineers are women in the U.S..
Here’s another reason why Austin is leading the charts: the University of Texas in Austin offers a college student program called “Women in Engineering Program” since 1991 and it connects students, educators and professionals through recruitment initiatives, supportive structures and educational services(6). As results of this initiative, in 2016, 30% of the students from the Cockrell School of Engineering were women, while the national average of female engineering students is around 20%.
Highlighting the importance of having more female engineers and working on decreasing the gender gap is crucial: according to the prediction of The American Association of University Women,(7) in less than 10 years, the United States will need 1.7 million more engineers and computing professionals. We all benefit from having more female experts who support the technical development so it is all our tasks to help women enter the field. Take a look at the following infographic, to find out more on what difficulties women face when entering engineering and understand how we all can help!
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