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Are Women Truly Welcomed in STEM Professions?

Managers are less likely to recognize women's work in the engineering and technology sector, and the opinions of male colleagues also make it difficult for them to get promoted – at least this is the opinion of the majority of respondents in a representative survey. However, a significant proportion of respondents believe that women can pursue the same career paths and earn as much as men in the sector.

A nationally representative survey* conducted by CETIN Hungary Zrt., an independent, integrated telecommunications infrastructure provider, analyzed, among other things, the advantages men and women see in the engineering and technological professions in general, and in particular for women, and what obstacles women face in their careers.

High salary (55%), knowledge that can be used in an international market (49%) and the field being interesting (31%; respondents could select more than one response option for each question) were the most popular benefits of the profession. The two genders tend to see these benefits differently: women prefer salary (59% vs. 51%), while men prefer international opportunities (52% vs. 46%) and interestingness (34% vs. 27%). However, there is no significant difference between men and women on how they see job opportunities (27%), the social usefulness of the field (19%) or a fast career (18%).

Working in the STEM sector is considered to be a preferred option for women mainly because of the home office and flexibility, and respondents think it is a family-friendly option that is better suited to women with children (48%). A significant proportion of respondents believe that women can have the same career path (40%) and earn the same (34%) as men in engineering/technology/IT – interestingly, there is little difference between genders in this aspect. 

According to the majority (41%), the main barrier for women in the STEM sector is that their work is less recognized by managers, making it harder for them to get ahead. There is significant difference between men and women: half of women think so, but one in three men share this view.

A third of respondents said that male colleagues do not always accept women well as colleagues – again, there is a significant difference, with 27% of men and 39% of women feeling this way. A relatively high proportion, around a quarter of those surveyed, also think that women do not like working in an environment where the vast majority of colleagues are male. A third of respondents believe that women find it harder to succeed among men, that it is harder for them to get ahead and that this is why fewer women are working in STEM fields.

By contrast, a fifth of respondents – with a small difference between men (22%) and women (17%) – said that because there are fewer women in the profession, companies would hire women, so there is less competition for women in the job market.

CETIN Hungary wants to encourage women to pursue careers in engineering and technology, which is not only important for equal opportunities, but also contributes to a more balanced operation, thus providing economic benefits. This is why the company has launched a free talent program for secondary school girls called STEMpowered by CETIN with the professional support of the Association of Hungarian Women in Science (NaTE). In addition to skills development and career guidance, the program shows the potential of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers by connecting science fields.

*The survey was conducted using the Opinio market research app, with 1,258 respondents interviewed between 23 and 26 August 2023. The results are nationally representative of Hungarians aged 16-59 with a smartphone, by age, gender, education, type and place of residence.