A new report by Ryerson University tells a very grave story within Canada’s STEM field. According to the university, there could be “negative consequences for productivity, economic growth, prosperity,” and competitiveness globally if the country does not diversify the STEM industry soon. The report is backed by Imogen Coe, dean of Ryerson’s faculty of science. Coe believes that the lack of diversity could ultimately cause a decrease in the skills necessary for STEM jobs, missing out on human potential and human capital.
The issue with diversity and STEM is not a problem exclusively in Canada. The United States has also struggle to increase ethnic diversity within the field but has made some progress in terms of gender diversity. For Canada there seems to be issues with both. For the short term, Coe is hoping to help increase women and minority interest by changing perceptions of the field. According to Coe “Workshops for women in STEM and science camps for girls won’t change participation rates of women unless the culture and workplace also increase accessibility by removing systemic barriers and bringing in accountability and consequences,”
A McKinsey Institute report backs them showing that “gender gaps are most significant in STEM education and jobs.” In an effort to change perceptions, Coe admits that male support is needed in an effort to expand the industry towards female interests. In the end, support from multiple areas are necessary for the growth of Canadian STEM which currently may see a huge skills gap if it does nothing.