The Space Workforce Pledge 2030

The Space Workforce of 2030

 

2021 and 2022 has seen huge sectors and companies like HP committing to 2030 diversity and inclusion goals and the space sector has now committed to its own pledge for the future of its workforce. Signed at the 37th Space Symposium by 23 executives, the pledge seeks to increase underrepresented genders, races, religions, cultures, and ethnicities.

 

EVONA’s own research from a recruitment perspective of hiring women in space, highlighted that whilst 38% of our placements into C-level roles were women, across the rest of the industry this was only 17%. Furthermore, only 12% are founders and CEO’s, one of them being Melanie Stricklan who is taking a front seat in the plans for diversity and inclusion in space alongside Steve Isakowitz and Roy Azevedo.

EVONA's Research on Gender Diversity in the Space sector 2021

We were really grateful to speak to Melanie on our podcast, EVONA Origin Stories, speaking about her journey into the space sector and insights into the need for diversity to progress the industry.

EVONA Origin Stories Episode 5

 

“We don’t need people that think like us, right? We don’t need people that come from the same background as all of us. What we need is diversity around the table that are able to rise to the occasion and bring us to our full potential as individuals and as a team.”

– Melanie Stricklan

You can listen to the whole podcast on our Spotify Channel here.

 

What will the pledge do?

 

The space workforce 2030 pledge commits those that have signed to reporting data on diversity and inclusion annually and working with universities to grow the numbers of diverse and underrepresented students in technical degrees that are crucial in the industry.

The specific goals Include:

  • Substantially boost the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in our collective technical workforce
  • Significantly escalate the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups who hold senior leadership positions in our collective technical workforce
  • Work with universities to increase the percentages of women and students from underrepresented groups receiving aerospace engineering degrees to levels     commensurate with overall engineering programs
  • Sponsor K-12 programs that collectively reach over 5,000,000 underrepresented students annually

The 24 executives also agreed to:

  • Aggregate the numbers on the first two bullet points for annual reporting and hold themselves accountable by annually reviewing the progress against these goals
  • Allow group-level results to be shared at the annual Space Foundation’s Space Symposium, while highlighting achievements and best practices to promote     shared success
  • Meet twice a year at the working level to exchange best practices on strengthening diversity recruitment, STEM education outreach and representation at leadership levels
  • Seek like-minded leaders and organizations to join this effort

The Leaders and relative companies that have agreed to the Space Workforce 2030 pledge are:

  • Roy Azevedo, President Raytheon Intelligence & Space
  • Payam Banazadeh, CEO at Capella Space
  • Peter Beck, CEO at Rocket Lab
  • Tory Bruno, CEO at United Launch Alliance
  • Jim Chilton, Senior VP of Space & Launch at Boeing
  • Michael Colglazier, CEO at Virgin Galactic
  • Tim Ellis, CEO at Relativity Space
  • John Gedmark, CEO at Astranis Space Technologies
  • Steve Isakowitz, CEO at The Aerospace Corporation
  • Larry James, Acting Director at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Daniel Jablonsky, CEO at Maxar Technologies
  • Robert Lightfoot, EVP of Lockheed Martin Space
  • Dave Kaufman, President at Ball Aerospace
  • Chris Kemp, CEO at Astra
  • Will Marshall, CEO at Planet
  • Dan Piemont, President at ABL Space Systems
  • Peter Platzer, CEO at Spire Global
  • Melanie Stricklan, CEO at Slingshot Aerospace
  • John Serafini, CEO at HawkEye 360
  • Amela Wilson, CEO at Nanoracks
  • Tom Wilson, President Space Systems at Northrop Grumman

 

The problem starts with young people

Collectively tackling the issues now will make a difference for future generations, however, it’s understood that the problem begins before workers even enter the sector. The pledge not only recognises gender and race as a diversity and inclusion issue but also students graduating and hoping to enter the workforce, hence the two bullet points focusing on universities and K-12 programmes.

Referring back to our research on women in space, in Engineering alone it’s noted that only 31% of engineer graduates in 2020 were women with only 24% of individuals in an engineering profession as of last year identifying as female, decreasing even further for those entering into a career in space.

Over the past few years EVONA have also recognised the issue surrounding students, facilitating education workshops to inspire them to join the space sector through our space spectra webinars. Recently we contacted local STEM students to gather a further understanding of the barriers STEM students have when considering a career in space.

The main issues noted were that most STEM subjects don’t have space content as part of their syllabus, many have a lack of information about the sector and believe their skills are not relevant.

Copyright of D.Doran (2022) - work cannot be replicated

Previously UKSEDS have noted that “students need to be made aware of potential career paths they can work towards… encouraging them to consider a career they wouldn’t have known about otherwise, fostering interest in particular subjects, making it more likely for them to invest time in developing skills needed within the sector.”

 

These issues present a demand for the key points of the pledge and could make a real difference to the future of the space workforce for young people, solving diversity and inclusion issues from the bottom up.

 

Insights from a recruitment perspective

Workplace diversity is important in all sectors and studies show that currently 57% of recruiters have strategies to attract diverse candidates. Achieving greater diversity has a multitude of benefits, as including a range of perspectives improves problem solving, enhances innovation and creativity, reduced employee turnover and improved hiring results to name a few. Not only does it have internal benefits, companies with higher levels of diversity and inclusion are proven to outperform their competitors by 35%.

Whilst the issue as a whole is complicated, not all solutions have to be. There are a number of simple and creative ways to champion this cause within your recruitment strategies!

 

Ways to improve Diversity:

 

· Recruitment teams need to actively strategize how to advertise jobs in order to maximise the audience they appeal to, specifically those of underrepresented groups.

· Family friendly policies like part-time, flexible working, parental leave and onsite nurseries are a great way to indicate the company is inclusive for those with children

· Championing for causes than resonate with underrepresented groups with partnerships/ donations/ fundraising demonstrates the inclusive culture and diversity ethos.

· Using anonymous profiling or software like PitchMe to remove bias from recruitment practices and only hire those with the right requirements for the role

· Belonging to an advisory group to assist with implementing company strategies, policies, and initiatives. 

· Offering internships or mentoring for underrepresented groups

· Showing people from underrepresented groups in leadership positions and on the boards