I have recently come across a great Dutch model for attracting new talent into science and technology. It has been developed by the ‘Platform for Talent & Tech’, a Dutch public private partnership. I absolutely love it as it includes everything I know about recruiting women into science and technology, and takes this a step further – not just looking at two genders, but actually across individuals. After all, not all women are the same, and we can’t simply fit individuals into two boxes. We are so much more than just a gender.
Platform for Talent & Tech developed this model as they are not just keen on recruiting women into science and technology but a wide range of talent. Making it attractive to as wide a range of people as possible, got them to find out more about to young people themselves. What are their values, drivers and attitudes toward science & technology? They asked a market research group in The Netherlands to run a survey, which included 1466 young people from 9-17 years old, and compared their results with a similar survey conducted eight years ago. Based on the survey the Beta&TechMentality-model has been developed.
Five science & technology types help for recruiting women into science and technology
The Beta&TechMentality-model divides people into five types, who differ significantly in their attitude to the world of science & technology. Consequently they are attracted by different aspects of science & technology. The types are: Innovators, Implementers, Action Takers, Explorers and Creative Makers. They differ in their confidence in their own capabilities in science & technology, and also in their interest in new technologies.
The Innovator (30%) Interest: Medium-low to high. Confidence: medium to high
Innovators are young people that love to work with technology. They believe they are good at it and have what it takes to succeed in technology or science. Innovators have positive associations with technology. They see technology as an area that can help them into a wide range of careers. This group is choosing an education or career in science & technology already. Their image of technology is high-tech: a clean environment with plenty of career choices and opportunities.
The Implementer (23%) Interest: low to medium, Confidence: low to medium
Implementers are currently not very interested in science & technology. They associate technology with complexity (it is difficult and complicated) and it appears unattractive to them (boring, uncool, dirty hands). Implementers currently choose areas such as care, culture or business management. For part of them though technology would fit really well, as technology often plays a vital part in their areas of interest.
The Action Taker (20%) Interest: low to medium, Confidence: medium
Action Takers are primarily practical. They prefer to work with their hands and are less interested in theoretical insights for which they often can’t see the use. Their practical mindset is currently not yet linked to technology. Their image of technology is traditional, and as such they are less likely to think of ‘state of the art’ and progress than other groups. In the way science and technology are currently taught Action Takers miss the practical application. Experiences with making and creating things as well as allowing them to run their own experiments would be a great hook to pull them in and show that technology can be fun. Doing so would also help them to develop self confidence within science and technology.
The Explorer (17%) Interest: medium to high, Confidence: low to medium
Explorers are still discovering which areas or careers may suit them. That could be technology but could just as easily be something else such as care or business management. They are more neutral towards technology and their image is less fixed. Explorers have less instant associations with technology, as they are not sure whether they would be good at it yet and don’t know whether they may have a talent in this area or not. That’s why choosing science & technology could sound daunting at the moment.
The Creative Maker (10%) Interest: high, Confidence: high
Creative makers really enjoy working with technology independently. In other words, these are young people with a strong intrinsic motivation. Because technology is a personal interest already, it’s less important to them to know which careers it may lead to. They have a positive outlook on technology and are able to see a wide spectrum. This groups thrives on challenges and they feel they have what it takes to succeed in science & technology. ‘Not getting it’ isn’t an issue for this group, as they believe that technology and science are things you can learn.
In the UK WISE ‘My Skills, My Life’ is a great tool for recruiting women into Science and Technology. It’s a career quiz for girls. Tomorrows Engineer offers great resources too, but none have gone beyond gender yet. Perhaps in future?