Recruiting women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) sectors is well-known for it’s challenges and the gap between the number of men and women in this industry continues to decrease.
In fact, every year the UK produces 36,000 less engineers than it needs, with women only making up 8-10% of the workforce.
But how can we change these numbers? First of all, we need to ensure we are encouraging, both in school and at home, any early interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We want to influence the future generation and highlight the benefits of following this career path as they pass through GSCE, A-Levels, Degrees and beyond. Equipping them with the confidence and skills they will need throughout their career in this industry so that they flourish as they move up the career ladder.
Once we’ve managed to do this, it is then vitally important to ensure that as this future generation enter the career world, that businesses provide enough opportunities to support the diverse range of priorities required by women. Why? Because listening to their priorities will encourage more women to either stay in this industry throughout their working life or return after a career break.
In studies, women have said that the general priorities of what women want follow a distinct pattern. Most importantly, it comes down to having fair opportunities alongside their male counterparts.
When it comes to getting a promotion, 40% of women believed that they were passed over for a promotion in favour of someone less qualified of the opposite sex. With many believing the only way to get promoted, is to leave one company and apply for the next step up somewhere else.
Women understand that balancing a career amongst family and personal interests can be harder that it sounds, but it is something they desire, no matter how career driven they are. Many women felt that if they voiced this desire, that their employers would think less of them and give them less opportunities for progression and personal development.
The pay gap between men and women in STEM sectors is still prevalent in 2019. Women are often stereotyped to be willing to accept lower salaries in their role. Interestingly, 50% of women said that they felt like they had to accept a lower salary if they were to do something they loved or of it allowed them to have a better work-life balance. Only 25% of those individuals would actually try and negotiate for a higher salary. But, why should Women have to just because of their desire to have the career of their dreams and a family lifestyle that is just as fulfilling?
There is clearly an outdated perception of women in STEM and it’s down to employers to make those changes by truly showcasing the opportunities available to women in these industries, to highlight the progressive culture in these businesses and how they are ready to make movements for our future generation. If girls can see the scope of where a career in STEM can take them, then hopefully we can increase the number of females with STEM qualifications in the UK for the long-term.