Frequently Asked Questions

The business case for achieving gender and racial parity and equality in the workforce is well documented. Yet, despite accounting for the majority of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the U.S. since 1980 and now the majority of the U.S workforce, women continue to be paid less than men and be underrepresented in top management. Women are only 5% of board chairs, 21% of board directors, 6% of CEOs, and 27% of executives (Catalyst, 2020). Women in engineering and technology are even more underrepresented in the workforce than women in other STEM occupations. In the last 30 years, the percentage of women has only increased from 9% to 13% in engineering and it has decreased from 35% to 26% in technology.

Among 25- to 34-year-olds with a STEM bachelor’s degree, the proportions of women employed in engineering and technology occupations are also lower than that of men of the same racial/ethnic background. SWE A4E is designed to provide companies with recognitions and actionable information to both motivate and assist them with eliminating gender and racial disparities in the workforce.

Participation in the pilot stage of the SWE A4E program allows your company an opportunity to get a head start on what will eventually be a recognitions program.  The A4E program will use a criterion-based assessment to recognize companies that moving the needle when it comes to supporting a diverse engineering and technology workforce.  Once launched as a recognitions program, the A4E program will promote recognized companies to SWE’s 40,000+ members and stakeholder – direct to women in engineering and technology from a non-profit that they trust and support! Participation in the pilot program gives your company a chance to better support your diverse talent before the full recognitions program begins, placing you in a stronger position for recognition.

SWE A4E is unique in its:

  • Focus on diverse women in engineering and technology, with particular attention to the intersection of race and gender.
  • Goal of achieving parity and equality in the workforce and in top management specifically.
  • Comprehensive approach to providing companies with actionable information to attract and retain more diverse women in engineering and technology and advance them into top management.

Key SWE A4E dates are listed below.

  • March 1, 2021: Registration opens.
  • July 12, 2021: Application opens (registered companies are given access).
  • November 5, 2021: Registration closes.
  • November 19, 2021: Application closes. Completed application and CEO or Managing Partner/Director approval form are required by this date.
  • March 2022: Participants are notified of their results; final aggregate report is released.

This requirement was established by SWE to help ensure that the leaders of participating companies are aware of any gender and racial disparities that may exist in their workforces.

No, companies may only enter data about their representation, programs, policies and practices, and corporate culture in the United States, including U.S. territories. This is to ensure that SWE A4E’s findings, benchmarks, best practices, and insights are valid, comparable, and valuable.

No, not at this time. Additional SWE A4E programs may be added in the future for organizations in other sectors and countries.

Both the registration and application are administered on-line through Qualtrics. Register your company online starting March 1, 2021. Please note that registration for the A4E Pilot Program is only available to SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council Members at this time. Once you submit your registration, someone from SWE Strategic Partnerships team will contact you via DocuSign with the required Non-Disclosure Agreement. Registration must be completed by November 5, 2021. A link to the application will be sent to the primary contact listed on your registration form via email once both the registration and the Non-Disclosure Agreement have been completed. The application will open on July 12, 2021.

To complete the application, your company will need to provide data on board directors and employees across six levels of its U.S.-based top management and engineering and technology workforce. Workforce definitions to map your company’s job codes to the specific positions and levels are provided in the SWE A4E Pilot Program Participant Instructions.

The data requested for the SWE A4E pilot program includes information on your company as of June 30, 2021 as well as yearly totals and averages for the prior 12-month period (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).

When the full program launches, all required data must be provided for your company to be eligible for recognition as a best employer for diverse women in engineering and technology, but not to participate in SWE A4E.

We estimate that it will take your company 8-12 hours to complete the first year (6-10 hours to gather the data and 2 hours to enter it into the application). The time and resources required to submit the application in subsequent years should be significantly reduced after your company has initially sourced and formatted the data. While other programs may take less time and effort to complete, they may not provide your company with the comprehensive benchmarks, best practices, and insights that SWE A4E will.

We recommend that one person from your company’s HR or strategy department be designated to oversee the SWE A4E submission process. Ideally, that person will be familiar with your company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and have experience with providing data to research studies or recognition programs and with coordinating data collection across the company. Departments and resources that may need to provide data include:

  • Data Analytics
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Finance
  • Governance
  • HR
  • Internal Consulting/Project Management
  • Legal
  • Offices of the CEO and Board of Directors
  • Strategy

More detailed information about the data required to complete the application will be made available to all registered companies once the data collection phase begins.

No, all data do not have to be provided to participate in the pilot program. But the more data you provide, the more useful and actionable your results will be.

Reasonable steps will be taken by SWE to maintain data confidentiality and security. Data provided by participants will be anonymized and aggregated when included in the final report. Company and benchmarking data will not be shared nor linked to company identifiers in any publicly-released materials or in the confidential individual company reports provided to participants. Moreover, SWE S4E will only release individual company reports to contacts designated by the companies.

The online SWE A4E registration and application are hosted by Qualtrics. Qualtrics’ Security Statement is as follows:

Qualtrics’ most important concern is the protection and reliability of customer data. Our servers are protected by high-end firewall systems and scans are performed regularly to ensure that any vulnerabilities are quickly found and patched. Application penetration tests are performed annually by an independent third-party. All services have quick failover points and redundant hardware, with backups performed daily.

Access to systems is restricted to specific individuals who have a need-to-know such information and who are bound by confidentiality obligations. Access is monitored and audited for compliance.

Qualtrics uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption (also known as HTTPS) for all transmitted data. Surveys may be protected with passwords. Our services are hosted by trusted data centers that are independently audited using the industry standard SSAE-18 method.

In April 2018, Qualtrics achieved ISO 27001 certification. The direct link to the information and certificate is: https://www.schellman.com/certificate-directory?certificateNumber=1723268-3. To independently verify the status of the certification, please visit https://www.schellman.com/certificate-directory.

Please contact SWE Strategic Partnerships if you have any questions or need more information about SWE A4E.