SEMI partnered with Accenture to conduct a study on women in the semiconductor industry and how sponsorship drives innovation and organizational performance.

In Summary:

  • Attracting, developing and retaining talent are some of the biggest challenges facing the semiconductor industry.
  • This research shows a clear gender imbalance in the workplace and describes common barriers women face to reach leadership positions.
  • Sponsorship programs give women more opportunities to grow into decision-making roles and highlights best practices in the semiconductor industry.

Focusing in on the bottom line, studies have clearly shown that supporting a diverse workforce can achieve increases in innovation, profitability, valuations, thought diversity, and employee morale, yet the female workforce remains underutilized.

When gender diversity is a priority, many positive changes tend to occur in an organization and society as a whole. Our findings showed that women are almost three times more likely to be on the fast track in organizations with at least one female senior leader.

Women progress further where there is transparency around pay targets, and in turn this helps to narrow the gender wage gap. Companies with leadership teams that are accountable for improving gender diversity are 63 percent more likely to have greater female representation in executive leadership positions.

Gender Diversity Impacts Advancement and Pay

100 : 34 – Current workforce ratio of men to women managers.

51% – Lift in women’s earnings if ratio of male to female managers were to increase to 100:84. This could mean up to an additional $30,000 per woman per year.

The technology industry is one area where gender diversity can be improved. While 47 percent of today’s workforce are women, they represent just 25 percent of US IT workers. One explanation is the educational path women are choosing for their undergraduate degrees, though the divergence from STEM subjects begins well before women enter college.

There are many existing programs that aim to help young girls foster an interest in STEM. These programs provide girls with opportunities to learn new skills and gain access to mentors and sponsors that encourage women to pursue careers that were previously not considered attainable. Programs helping foster an interest in STEM among young girls include:

Women are substantially underrepresented in technology roles and at technology companies, research shows that men are far less likely to perceive that gender inequality exists at their organization. This gender bias can result in unequal pay, unequal opportunities for advancement, and other glass ceilings being places above female employees.

To combat this, technology organizations must implement relevant mentorship and education programs, trainings, cultural support and more for all levels of employees, and allow for far more open conversations amongst HR, business leaders and the broader employee workforce.

At the corporate level, there are a variety of programs that semiconductor companies can leverage to promote the advancement of women throughout their organizations. These programs consist of both mentorship and sponsorship initiatives. When successful, mentorships and sponsorships can forge cross-divisional relationships between leaders and entry-level employees. Mentors can guide and coach developing professionals, while sponsors can use their clout to advocate for the advancement of their protege and help them access opportunities to further career ambitions.

Sponsors Act:

  • connect proteges to career opportunities
  • advocate for protege’s advancement
  • support risk-taking
  • publicly endorse proteges
  • confront and interrupt bias

Mentors Advise:

  • reduce isolation and stress
  • navigate unwritten rules
  • build confidence
  • provide tips and strategies
  • promote inclusion to company

Companies need to start tapping into the underutilized workforce of women. This is a clear opportunity for women to enter this market and is a hidden opportunity for semiconductor companies to reap the benefits that women have proven to provide to companies, particularly while in leadership positions.

How to Start

Start by looking at your company’s current gender diversity ratio and work with management and HR to integrate the following activities in your company’s diversity strategy and plan:

  • Put in place a formal sponsorship and mentorship program.
  • Place women on your board.
  • Assign diversity champions throughout the company.
  • Seek out women for new hires and promotions within the company.
  • Remove language biases from job descriptions that may discourage women from applying.
  • Participate and/or sponsor programs that target young girls at an early age to encourage STEM studies.