Report examines how wages, education and STEM are keys to growth
By Terry Troy
In what is its second edition of a report called Lost Opportunities, Team NEO revealed how and why gender inequity is contributing to talent gaps throughout Northeast Ohio. A supplement to its Aligning Opportunities report, which provides a clear assessment of in-demand jobs, the availability of trained workers to meet demand and a picture of what skills and training our workforce needs to fill them, Lost Opportunities complements Team NEO’s Misaligned Opportunities, which delves even further into racial equality as it relates to labor force opportunities.
This year’s Lost Opportunities edition uses national and regional data to illustrate wage disparities, not only from a men-women perspective but also in the lens of age cohorts. Further, Team NEO researches the labor force participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs that lead to higher wages than non-STEM jobs.
One of the findings of Lost Opportunities 2022 included the fact that women earned 23% less than men across the board and that the wage gap persists despite high levels of education attainment as revealed in the previous 2021 edition of Lost Opportunities.
Pew Research Center data show that younger women are achieving more parity of wages with male peers than other age groups, narrowing the gender wage gap. Despite this progress, the wage gap still seems to increase with age.
For the decade leading up to 2020, women 35-to 44-years old held the highest average annual increase compared to other ages. In 2018, they surpassed the average pay of women 45 years+ for the first time. Women are still vastly underrepresented in Northeast Ohio’s STEM workforce, holding only 24% of positions.
“These insights enhance our understanding of barriers Northeast Ohio’s female workers experience in accessing the education and training for in-demand jobs,” said Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO. “We hope this report advances conversations on creative solutions to retain and attract female candidates, so we have more robust and equitable participation in the workforce.”
Insights from the Misaligned Opportunities report were offered during a social event at Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College East, which featured a fireside chat with new president of Cleveland State University Dr. Laura Bloomberg and Cuyahoga Community College’s new president Dr. Michael Baston. The pair shared their perspectives on the Northeast Ohio Region’s workforce strategies, discussed opportunities for the future, and provided insights on challenges and solutions in their experience with women and minority students.