CEOs downplay dearth of minority employees

Many CEOs of some of the fastest growing American science and technology companies are aware of recent national reports warning the U.S. that it is in danger of losing its global leadership in science and technology due to a potential shortfall in the number of scientists and engineers it produces, coupled with an increase in global competition for these professionals.

According to Bayer (Leverkusen, Germany), which commissioned the survey as part of its Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) program, many CEOs acknowledge that their industries still suffer from a lack of women, African-American, Native American and Hispanic American STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, but they fail to fully recognize the untapped talent pool embodied by these under-represented groups.

These are among the central findings of the survey in which CEOs and other “C-Level” executives from emerging STEMs were polled on various manpower, work force diversity, education and science literacy issues.

Two-thirds (65%) confirm that under-representation exists in their industry, but fewer say it exists within their own companies. The CEOs are, in fact, split over this, with 53% saying it doesn't exist and 45% saying it does. Few CEOs (16%) view under-representation as a manpower issue.

Further, three-quarters (74%) do not feel frustrated by their company's difficulty in hiring women and minorities for STEM positions. In fact, more than one-half (53%) are not frustrated at all.

However, 78% of CEOs reported they are concerned that the U.S. is in danger of losing its global predominance in science and technology due to manpower shortage. Well over one-half (57%) are concerned that their company will be able to attract and retain the scientific and technically trained employees it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace.