As a technology company, over 80% of Qualcomm’s employees work in technical roles, and approximately 70% of them have obtained a high degree of specialization (e.g. masters, PhDs). This represents a challenge when it comes to finding diverse talent, as women and underrepresented minorities. According to the United States Census Bureau, even though women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, men are still employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields at twice the rate of women. In addition, racial minorities such as African American (6% employed in STEM) and Hispanics (7% employed in STEM) have consistently been underrepresented in STEM occupations. At Qualcomm, we know that diversity fosters innovation and drives better business outcomes, and we are committed to contributing to a more diverse workforce through programs designed to develop and retain top diverse talent, including the expansion of recruitment efforts of women and underrepresented minority groups.
To engage and motivate diverse students to pursue engineering degrees and solidify their choice in these majors such as computer science and electrical engineering – as well as to have them consider Qualcomm as a potential future employer – we annually host two key programs for freshman and sophomore females and underrepresented minorities at colleges across the United States: Qualcomm Women’s Collegiate Conference (QWCC) and Diversity Engineering Campus Alignment (DECA). QWCC and DECA have the common goal of reinforcing the choice that these students made to pursue technical careers by helping them fortify their technical and professional skills, enabling them to build a network of peers, and exposing them to the wireless industry.
QWCC has hosted top female college engineering students and introduced them to employee mentors who work in STEM. These young women had the opportunity to engage in activities focused on strengthening their technical and professional skills-encouraging them to connect with valuable resources early in their careers. Since 2014, QWCC has impacted 268 students, and the Company has hired 108 as interns.
DECA has provided minority students from across the country–all majoring in computer science and computer engineering – the opportunity to participate in workshops, networking opportunities, interview and career advice, and information about technical careers in the wireless industry. Since 2013, DECA has impacted 309 students, and has led to 135 accepted internships.
QWCC and DECA have contributed greatly to the increase in diversity in our internship program–a prime pipeline of talent for the Company. Qualcomm has doubled the percentage of female engineering interns to 29%, tripled the percentage of Hispanic engineering interns to 10%, and quadrupled the percentage of African American engineering interns to 6%. This increase in diversity is essential for our innovation and growth, and we hope and expect to see the percentages rise as we continue with these innovative and effective programs.