At PepsiCo, our commitment to STEM—and to women and minorities who aspire to STEM careers—starts at the top. Our Chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi, is a tireless advocate for STEM—so much so that she has been named among the Top 100 CEOs in STEM.
Our commitment to STEM is expressed inside and outside the company. Inside, we created a PepsiCo STEM council, a cross-functional team whose mandate is nurture new STEM talent. Outside, PepsiCo’s STEM professionals are determined to make a contribution to their professions—not just their company and industry.
Together with other key stakeholders, PepsiCo has been a thought leader in developing the concept of STEM 2.0, a STEM strategy developed through the eyes of the employer and defining the skill sets needed for successful STEM talent in tomorrow’s new economy.
That’s why PepsiCo is the founding chair of the STEM Innovation Task force, a coalition of more than 35 industry, government, educator and NGO partners working cross functionally to develop and implement programs to help solve the STEM shortfall. And that’s why PepsiCo is so passionate about mentoring.
Now more than ever, we must identify and cultivate diverse and emerging STEM talent as employers continue to struggle to fill 26 million STEM-related jobs in the US with a limited supply of qualified candidates.
PepsiCo has worked tirelessly to attract minorities and women into STEM fields.
For example, PepsiCo is a sponsor of STEMconnector’s Million Women Mentor program (MWM), an effort to support women and girls interested in STEM fields. We hold the vice chair of the global MWM taskforce, which strives to secure mentorship for female STEM talent all around the world.
Additionally, for the past 20-plus years, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, we have been a leading sponsor of the Research Apprentice Program, which focuses on under-represented students. During this time the program enrolled 1,200 students— two-thirds women, two-thirds African-American, and one-fourth Hispanic. And more than one third of these students pursued graduate studies.
Further, in the US, in March 2014, the STEMconnector Innovation Task Force and PepsiCo piloted an event called “STEM Career Accelerator Day,” which offered a firsthand look at how STEM translates from the classroom to the workplace. Conducted simultaneously at corporate workplaces, on university campuses, and online, the event brought together 4,300 U.S. high school students. The students, which included females and minorities, received insights into jobs and STEM skills needed for these jobs. Along with mentoring by seasoned STEM professionals, students also participated in hands-on activities designed to bridge the gap between academic theory and commercial action.
To be sure, there is significant opportunity for females and minorities in the STEM fields.
- Women fill close to 50% of all jobs in the U.S., but they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs.
- Of 100 female bachelor students, 12 graduate within STEM fields – yet only 3 continue in STEM fields after 10 years.
- In the US, 75% of all students are women and students of color, but only represent 45% of STEM degrees.
While more work needs to be done, we are heartened by the progress being made.
In 2015 PepsiCo will mobilize 100 mentors in the USA with a stated ambition to reach 1,000 globally in 2016 and beyond.
We believe our enterprise STEM is taking us to a new level—both domestically and globally.
Dr. Mehmood Khan, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, PepsiCo.
Fundamentally, my job at PepsiCo is to mentor. My goal is to create a framework in which our global team of R&D associates can flourish – by providing guidance and giving people the tools they need to succeed. Most importantly, it’s about fostering a team environment that is built on trust, collaboration and sharing in order to create solutions to problems conventional wisdom said were insoluble. As a mentor, it’s an honor and privilege to work with so many dynamic and talented individuals.