There is still much work to be done, but Jess Lee hopes that in the coming year, dedicated efforts put into action by many more organisations can begin narrowing the current equity, diversity and inclusion gaps in STEM.
Increased education and opportunity for all and allowing current and future employees the space to bring their full and authentic selves to work is a winning strategy for labs.
Priorities have shifted as a result of the pandemic, and as we move into a new year inclusivity needs to be top of mind. That said, diversity in laboratory and STEM-related fields has much room to grow. Studies indicate that Black and Latinx workers are securing just 9%  of all STEM jobs and women secure 29%  in manufacturing jobs
Despite industry efforts, there’s still significant work to be done to increase representation in lab and STEM-related careers for underrepresented groups. While we all have a considerable way to go to move the needle, at Waters we believe we can make a difference by focusing on education and recruitment.
To cultivate a workplace that celebrates differences and encourages new ideas, consider how the following ideas might positively impact your organisation and the communities in which you live. One way to do this is to align your philanthropic and DEI strategy so they reinforce each other. For example, we created a hands-on summer internship program for high school students in underrepresented communities, giving them exposure and experience working in our labs and engaging with our scientists. This creates a one-of-a-kind program combining mentoring, education, business, and science all aimed at one goal: to spark students’ interest so they see all the possibilities the future holds for them.
Additionally, re-evaluate your recruiting efforts to ensure open positions have at least two diverse candidates within the interview process. This can be achieved by developing hiring partnerships with local agencies that focus on building career pipelines for people of colour, women, and LGBTQIA+ candidates, for example.
There is still much work to be done, but I have hope that in the coming year, dedicated efforts put into action by many more organisations can begin narrowing the current DEI gaps that exist within STEM-related fields. Increased education and opportunity for all and allowing current and future employees the space to bring their full and authentic selves to work is a winning strategy for labs to truly innovate and thrive for decades to come.
Author: Jess Lee, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Waters waters.com
1 Fry, R., Pew Research Centre, STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity, pewresearch.org, April 2021
2 Women in Manufacturing, infographic, gesrepair.com