As we inch closer to 2020, a statistic by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sits looming as a reminder of the massive gender gap in the technology industry. According to the BLS, there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs available in the US by 2020, but women will be on track to only fill 3% of these positions.
Additionally, the BLS states that 68% of women enroll in college (compared to 63% of men), and women increasingly outnumber men in college graduation rates. Yet women still make up only a quarter of the tech industry workforce.
Where is the disconnect?
According to Code.org, nine out of 10 high schools in the United States fail to offer computer science classes, and in 33 of 50 states, computer science classes do not count towards high school math or science graduation requirements.
In a recent Google study, the company surveyed approximately 1,600 men and women. Their findings indicated that girls aren't taught what computer science actually means, and are half as likely to be encouraged to study it. Females that had no association with computer science used words such as "boring" and "difficult" to describe the industry.
Companies are well aware of these shortages and the disconnect that exists among young women. Therefore, many are taking great strides to change the stereotypes; to engage girls at an early age; and to encourage young women to enter into fields that include technology; whether it is computer science, engineering or IT.
OpTech is one of these firms. We are partnering with several organizations to change the trend with the ultimate goal of hiring more women for IT roles, even if they haven’t been in the workforce for several years. According to NCWIT, 56% of women in technology leave their employers midcareer. Of the women who leave, 24% take a non-technical job in a different company; 22% become self-employed in a tech field, 20% take time out of the workforce, and 10% go to work with a startup company. This is double the turnover rate of men.
Although this seems like an unfortunate statistic, there is promise within it. There are several women that have taken time out of the workforce, but are looking for a way to get back into it. OpTech is partnering with several stakeholders on an initiative called “Silicon Lakes.” The program’s mission is intended to re-engage and bring tech professional women with a career gap back to work and help them reach their full potential.
Silicon Lakes’ objectives are the following:
What is the end goal?
Our goal is to create a large, rich pipeline of talented tech women in Michigan and bridge the gender gap while promoting creativity, diversity, and experience in the workplace. We want to bring tech women with career breaks together to reinforce their identity, and open up opportunities to re-engage in the Michigan economy.
It Makes Business Sense
Customer demographics are changing. In much of our research, woman are changing the way business is done and how it is done. Did you know that 90% of the financial decisions in a household are made by women, and guess what? Women have become significant household earners and the key decision makers. According to the Wall Street Journal, by 2022, women will control over 60% of the wealth in the United States. Companies with women in leadership roles crush the competition according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Over the course of the next six years, it is projected that there will be a gap of 811,000 career openings to fill in Michigan alone. We must act swiftly to change the current patterns and design sustainable pipeline approaches for highly-skilled talent to fill the anticipated open positions. The shortage of qualified talent is a major concern as it poses a real threat to the economic growth and prosperity of our state and our nation.
If you or someone you know, in the field of IT or engineering, is trying to get back into the workforce, contact our Director of Recruiting, Debbie Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her directly at 313-879-6211. To learn more about Silicon Lakes, please contact Director of Marketing, Laura Ziegler directly at 313-879-6234 or email her at email@example.com.
As most of you are probably aware, OpTech believes strongly in charitable activities, especially those having a direct impact on children and STEM Education. Yesterday, OpTech team members participated in Boulan Park Middle School’s A.P.T. to Succeed program.
A.P.T. to Succeed is a project in which local 8th grade students experience a professional interview by members of the Troy business community. The A.P.T. interview focuses on the following:
A = Academic Achievement
P = Personal Time Management
T = Teamwork
For some of our staff, this is their sixth year volunteering for the program and interviewing students. When asked about the experience, one team member said “I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and talent of the young people I interview. I love evaluating their work and giving them pointers on building their resumes but also encouraging the effort they’ve put forth. It truly is a rewarding experience.”
Thanks OpTech team for representing our firm and giving back to our community.
Happy 313 Day. We love this city. Our city. It has left its mark on all of us, in one way or another. The authenticity, the grit, the splendor, the history; Detroit is real and magical and always evolving and growing...just like each one of us. We are Detroit. #proud
We have all heard time and time again specifics do’s and don’ts for a job interview. Do be polite and talk to the receptionist. Don’t slouch. Do mimic the interviewers body language. Don’t text or take calls during your interview. Do ask questions. These pieces of advice are incredibly useful to anyone, but what about the lesser known details that truly affect your chances of getting the job.
We’ve revealed six seemingly minor details that could change the future of your career path and whether you land your next job interview.
Drum roll please…Here are the things you should never overlook when interviewing (and that are in your complete and utter control).
Did you make a personal New Year’s Resolution for 2019? How about one for your career growth? This year, setting firm, measurable career goals can improve your quality of life and work/life balance.
Here are some suggested workplace goals:
1) Get Healthy - Getting healthy is the most common New Year’s resolution made among people of all ages. Because you spend a lot of time at work, incorporating a healthy lifestyle while you are there is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. It doesn't have to be complicated either. For example: pack a lunch 2-3 times a week filled with fruits and vegetables. Take the stairs. Drink an extra glass of water each day. Get up and stretch every hour. Use a standing desk or sit on an exercise ball. Think small, and you’ll find that those little things add up to big results.
2) Learn a new skill - No matter what your title is at work, there are hundreds of new skills to be learned that will benefit your performance and ultimately your career. Pick one skill that you want to learn and use tutorials to aid you. You can find these on sites like Lynda.com and even for free on YouTube. Pick just one skill and set it as one of your work goals for the year. Then get it done. Once you do, don't forget to add it to your resume.
3) Read a career-related book - Reading is great for your mental health and does wonders for your body. Instead of reading a fictional book, find one that aligns with your work goals -- maybe one focused on boosting your performance, your outlook, or even focused on your personal habits. Reading a great book on professional development can give you a new perspective, increase your energy and motivate you during the year.
4) Review and improve your LinkedIn profile - Set a calendar reminder every quarter to assess your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is more or less your online resume so make sure it is up-to-date. You might be surprised when a dream job comes your way or a recruiter reaches out. If you don't know where to begin, assess other profiles of people with similar titles or at similar companies. See what you like or dislike from their profiles and make changes to your accordingly.
Career resolutions aren't required but can set you on a path to success for the entire year. Even if you only choose one of these, it is well worth the effort because you are sure to see results. Best of luck to you in 2019.
OpTech is committed to providing its customers with exceptional talent to fit their business needs. We also believe strongly in helping and giving back to the communities in which we work and reside. As a result, a few years ago, we developed a dedicated program for veterans returning to the workforce after completing their active duty. The program not only places a veteran in a new position, but allows him/her to transition into civilian life seamlessly.
The Value of Hiring a Veteran
Veterans generally bring the core values of discipline & commitment to all aspects of their work. They are trained to think and react logically and be a valuable team player in the workplace.
OpTech works directly with a number of organizations and partner companies to place Veterans. Some of these groups include: Hiring our Heroes, Inforum's Next4Vets and MI Virtual Career Fairs, which help Veterans find civilian jobs. OpTech's program is multi-faceted and has been established to accomplish several objectives, including identifying, recruiting, training and assisting veterans in finding jobs and advancing their careers after their military service.
Our success in employing veterans has earned us a Silver Level Employer certification status by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
OpTech's President and CEO, Ronia Kruse was recently featured in the Detroiter Magazine, alongside other industry experts. The article posed a question to each visionary about the role talent played on Detroit's failed bid to host Amazon's second world headquarters. Amazon cited several reasons why Detroit was not a contender, but the main reason was that our city lacks existing talent. So the question is this: What comes first, talent or business?
Ronia said the following:
“Certainly some talent follows companies but more often, companies will follow talent. In fact, studies by renowned economists have proven this theory. The unemployment rate is under 4%, which is extremely low; IT and Engineering positions are below 2%. Clearly the talent pool in the U.S. is in a crisis. Michigan has some of the finest universities in the country but is being challenged with retaining talent in Michigan, as it is losing about 36% of its students to other states. Michigan is making strides to change this paradigm via the Marshall Plan for Talent and ChooseMichigan.org initiative – programs that are building talent pipelines, retaining students and upskilling talent.”
The world of interviewing has changed so much over the past 10 years. Not only has the cover letter died but the phone interview has become a true first step to getting a foot in the door, literally. Most companies require you to pass their phone screening process before you can step foot into the office and meet with someone face-to-face. For some of you, this is an easy step to get past, but for many of us, we are much better at meeting someone one-on-one. Unfortunately, your voice and your words must sell you and that can be nerve-wracking and daunting all at once.
If you find you are struggling during your phone interviews, here are a few suggestions that could make all the difference in the world:
Similar to any interview, be sure to ask questions and thank the interviewer for their time. Be sure to ask for the interviewer's email address, if you don't already have it, and send out an email thank you note immediately, reiterating your interest in the job. Finally, take a deep breath, and remember, like most things: practice makes perfect.
When was the last time you submitted a cover letter with a resume? If you can’t remember, you aren’t alone. Cover letters are quickly becoming a thing of the past with the advent of speed, technology and the sheer volume of resumes submitted for any particular job post, but it wasn’t always this way. Years ago, the cover letter was a tool that recruiters or hiring managers used to get the bigger picture about you and what you had to offer an organization.
Today, however, the average recruiter spends 5-7 seconds reviewing any single resume. In that amount of time, the last thing they are going to do is read a cover letter. In addition, most companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that allow talent to upload their resume which in turn, strips the information, only leaving the most important data for quicker perusing.
Regardless of all of this, the end of the cover letter also signals the end of personalizing your pitch and highlighting information that doesn’t shine on a bulleted job history. To stand out now, applicants need to get creative and change the traditional resume format to serve their needs. Here is what we suggest:
There is one caveat to the death of the cover letter. Sometimes it is used as a test to see how interested and committed you are to the position. So if a company asks for a cover letter, be sure to include one. It may not even be reviewed but those resumes received without a cover letter may be a weeding factor and could automatically be dismissed.
Beyond everything else, focus on the elements of the application process – a strong resume, a professional online presence, and skillful networking – elements that will separate you from the crowd each and every time.
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