Global STEM Workforce

Global STEM R&D Researchers and Personnel

In 2017, the percentage of female science and engineering researchers and personnel in research and development (R&D) across the world was about 30% according to a UNESCO brief report (UNESCO, 2020), which highlights a gender disparity in R&D labor force.

Still, there are regions in the world where there is almost gender parity among R&D researchers. For instance, women in Central Asia represent 48.5% of R&D researchers while women in Latin America and the Caribbean comprise almost 46% of R&D workforce. However, gender imbalance is abysmal in other regions in the world, including East Asia and the Pacific and South and West Asia, where women represent 25% and 23% of the R&D personnel, respectively.

Female Researchers as a % of Total R&D Personnel/Researchers (Head Counts), by Region, 2017

Global STEM Workforce - global stem workforce
Source: UNESCO, Fact Sheet No. 60.

Examining the R&D personnel of selected countries by gender also reveals women’s underrepresentation in this workforce. Among the selected countries, India has the lowest female representation, where less than 17% of R&D personnel were women in 2018. Spain had the highest female representation, where 40.5% of their researchers are women.

Female Researchers as a % of Total R&D Personnel/Researchers (Head Counts) of Selected Countries, 2018 (or latest year available)

Global STEM Workforce - global stem workforce


Global STEM Workforce in Frontier Roles

In 2020, the World Economic Forum published the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 (World Economic Forum, 2020), which includes the gender gap in frontier roles and frontier skills as observed in five-year hiring trends in the LinkedIn platform. These trends point to eight professional clusters* that were identified with increasing employment projections from across 20 leading economies. While the percentage of overall professional and technical workers that are women is 49%, the representation of women is much lower in the professional clusters of engineering (15%) and cloud computing (12%).

* The professional clusters were determined based on similar skill sets required.

Percentage of Female Workers, by Professional Cluster

Global STEM Workforce - global stem workforce
Source: World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

Moreover, in selected countries, women comprise less than a quarter of all workers in cloud computing and engineering jobs. In all, 39% of all jobs held, as reported in the LinkedIn platform, were held by women; however, women represent only 12% and 15% of the workers in cloud computing and engineering occupations, respectively. The United States does have slightly higher proportions of women in cloud computing (14%) and engineering (23%) jobs, which may mirror the overall higher percentage of all (47%) jobs held by women. Still, Canada (16%), Australia (19%), and India (20%) also stand out for having slightly higher female representation in engineering occupations.

Percentage of Female Workers in Selected Countries, by Professional Cluster

Global STEM Workforce - global stem workforce
Source: World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

Additional Resources