You are here

Employer Insights for Navigating the Job Search as a Woman in Engineering

This blog entry is the fourth in a series addressing specific job search considerations for underrepresented and diverse candidates. We recognize that identities are intersectional and that identity markers do not exist independently of each other, and we offer this information to those who would like to apply it in their job search. Today’s blog is written by Jayne Kim, PhD, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist for MedicaSafe, Inc.

How does your company support women employees?

I have had the pleasure of working at two biotechnology startup companies in New York City that have almost an equal amount of female and male employees. It showed the companies’ efforts to hire diversely across their business. With STEM companies being known for hiring a low number of female engineers, it was very encouraging to see the support for female engineers in these big city startups. This was a huge part in my decision to accept the position.

Explain the importance of Employee Resource Groups for employees.

Employee Resource Groups lay the groundwork for a company to ensure global diversity and inclusion strategies. ERGs allow employees to feel a sense of belonging and create relationships with people of similar backgrounds, which helps build comradery.

What tips do you have for networking, conferences, and targeted recruitment events?

The first tip is to consider any event where there is a presence of industry experts as a networking and possible recruiting opportunity. Networking can be more important than the qualifications you have on your resume at times – it’s who you met, what they remember about you, and who they can introduce you to. That being said, always make a good first impression. For example, if the recruiter feels as though you are not a good fit for a specific role that you applied to, if you make a good impression, they may introduce you to another position or other people in their network. It is also good to carry around tangible contact information (e.g. resume or business card). Recruiters are more prone to follow-up with a good first interaction if they have your contact information.

What should candidates consider when evaluating an employer’s culture and fit?

Company culture and fit is very important. No title or salary is worth working in a hostile work environment or a company where you’re a bad fit. This comes from personal experience. It is hard to understand and fully observe the company’s culture during an on-site interview, so it is a good idea to ask specific questions during your interview. I would ask the following questions to determine if you’d be comfortable in the company’s environment:

  • How would you describe your corporate culture in three words?
  • What is the company’s approach to career development? Do you support your employee’s with advancement through training and education?
  • What’s one thing you would change about the company if you could change absolutely anything?
  • How transparent are you with your employees?

I would also research websites, such as Glassdoor, to see what other employees think of the company. They might offer more honest feedback.

Additional tips and considerations for women in engineering.

In full transparency, although companies are doing their best to create an equal work environment/experience for women, it can still be difficult to receive 100% equal treatment with male engineers. The ultimate tip I give all my past students and interns is to negotiate salary before accepting the offer letter. Reports suggest that companies “low ball” female engineers compared to their male counterparts. It is not fair, but it also gives us an opportunity to negotiate. Do your research, complete due diligence to [determine] the average salary for the position (look into cost of living), and then counter the offer.

If you are considering negotiating your full-time offer and have questions you can view additional blogs on the topic HERE, attend an ECS Salary Negotiation Workshop, or schedule an appointment to meet with an Advisor.

About the author

Guest Employer