I found the above graph here. It's not so important that it doesn't include the last five years or so for my purposes.
I was looking at MegaCorp's new hires and discovered that in the last three months of intense intern hiring (it's the season for interns!) 24% of them have been female. I wondered how this compared to engineers hired. Turns out in the first 5+ months of this year, 10% of our new hire engineers have been female.
Now, my local university says that about 18.5% of engineering degrees are conferred to women. So the intern numbers seem to be, if anything, on the high side.
Compare the new hire numbers to the historical chart at the top and you'd see that we'd have to be averaging 30 years of experience for the engineers we hire for 10% to be a reasonable number. It's unlikely our average new hire engineer is 50 years old or more.
What does this mean? Why is the effort being made on the intern level to bring in more women but we don't see it when it comes down to hiring full-timers? It's possible, I suppose, that women are graduating with degrees, and working internships, but then somehow not going into engineer at all. If they are going into completely different fields after getting an engineering degree, and in high numbers, that could explain it.
Or is it part of the general trend that women tend to work in lower paying occupations so it's easier for a woman to get hired on as an intern than it will be for her to get hired as an engineer. Or maybe HR is trying to push diversity but can only manage to do so as a part of its intern hiring program but can't convince managers to hire more experienced women.
This might make a lot of sense if both numbers were on the low side or on the high side. Then you could draw some conclusion about MegaCorp's particular industry or maybe locality differences. As it is it looks a little strange.