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Looking for trends in all the wrong places

June 6, 2011

I found the above graph here. It's not so important that it doesn't include the last five years or so for my purposes.
I was looking at MegaCorp's new hires and discovered that in the last three months of intense intern hiring (it's the season for interns!) 24% of them have been female. I wondered how this compared to engineers hired. Turns out in the first 5+ months of this year, 10% of our new hire engineers have been female.
Now, my local university says that about 18.5% of engineering degrees are conferred to women. So the intern numbers seem to be, if anything, on the high side.
Compare the new hire numbers to the historical chart at the top and you'd see that we'd have to be averaging 30 years of experience for the engineers we hire for 10% to be a reasonable number. It's unlikely our average new hire engineer is 50 years old or more.
What does this mean? Why is the effort being made on the intern level to bring in more women but we don't see it when it comes down to hiring full-timers? It's possible, I suppose, that women are graduating with degrees, and working internships, but then somehow not going into engineer at all. If they are going into completely different fields after getting an engineering degree, and in high numbers, that could explain it.
Or is it part of the general trend that women tend to work in lower paying occupations so it's easier for a woman to get hired on as an intern than it will be for her to get hired as an engineer. Or maybe HR is trying to push diversity but can only manage to do so as a part of its intern hiring program but can't convince managers to hire more experienced women.
This might make a lot of sense if both numbers were on the low side or on the high side. Then you could draw some conclusion about MegaCorp's particular industry or maybe locality differences. As it is it looks a little strange.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 5:25 pm

    Does MegaCorp have a strong trend of hiring primarily from the intern pool? If so, maybe the female interns realize during the course of their internship that they don't like the corporate vibe they got while there (as I've heard female STEM friends say about particular massive companies).

  2. June 6, 2011 11:22 pm

    Oh, call me cynical… but it's easy to hire women in pink collar/office wife levels because they *pssssst* don't want silly widdle ladeez thinking that they can get hired straight away in a d00d's position! I'll fix this for you: …but can't convince MALE managers to hire more experienced women CLOSER TO THEIR PAY GRADE BECAUSE THOSE WOMEN MIGHT GET PROMOTED FOR *COUGH* BEING WOMEN AND THE D00DZ CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN OR IMPENDING DOOM TO THE COMPANY.You will LOL at this. I was recently mansplained at that men "aren't good at typing and secretarial work because the keyboards are under the desk and too small for man hands." I swear to dog, I nearly needed oxygen. You can imagine the many ways I skewered the nitwit.jc

  3. June 8, 2011 5:55 pm

    I'd say we don't hire too much from the intern pool but I'm not sure the reason for that. Maybe having an internship under their belts sends qualified grads in search of better jobs elsewhere. Or maybe once someone's already worked here they don't live up to our ridiculously high expectations for applicants.jc – great correction (though for MegaCorp adding the male before manager is entirely unnecessary). Also scary story. Did you lecture them in the history of secretaries and clerks who all used to be male before women began working? Frightening that these people are out there and verbalizing this stuff.

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