Episode 92: The Problems and Opportunities With Leaders in STEMM

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: October 19, 2022


Increasingly, science and technology are occupying a much more significant role within companies and consumers. But leaders in STEMM organizations are finding a lack of gender diversity, difficulties in retaining female talent, and in the agility of leadership. Researchers from Zenger Folkman and Arcadia compared 360 feedback from  16,419 STEMM leaders with 57,706 non-STEMM leaders, revealing insights based on hard data, facts, and statistical analysis. In our podcast today, we are taking a hard look at STEMM leaders and the problems and opportunities that need to be acted upon.

About our Guest

Andrew Patterson is the Director of Research at Arcadia Consulting. He is an expert in modern social neuroscience and studies the neural mechanisms behind culture, therefore, helping to devise a sequence of processes that can affect measurable change. He spent over 15 years at IBM doing research and consulting. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Key Points

  • STEMM Leaders are missing 9 critical competencies – Customer & external focus, Champions change, develops strategic perspective, inspires & motivates, innovates, communicating powerfully & prolifically, Establishing stretch goals, Developing others, Collaboration & Teamwork 
  • STEMM and non-STEMM leaders have similar ‘importance ratings’ EXCEPT for a huge jump in importance in STEMM for ‘technical and professional expertise.  However, this importance could get in the way of the recruitment or promotion of other leadership competencies required.
  • Men and women in STEMM are positively correlated (0.54) – a huge swing in correlation which means they have the same strengths and fatal flaws, and as such, gender diversity DOES NOT EQUAL competence diversity.
  • Many of the criteria required to prove expertise in the STEMM sector are socially determined and subject to both conscious and unconscious bias. Women face additional challenges in the perception of high technical or professional expertise. What we did not expect to find was that both genders were badly affected.


Zenger Folkman hosts an exclusive live webinar every month, where you can meet Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman and join in a conversation about their latest research in leadership development. Find out more information and register here.


STEMM the Tide– Research Paper Arcadia Consulting