A new survey for International Women in Engineering Day shows women find it significantly harder to return to a career in STEM than men.
Women trying to return to the engineering industry after a career break are more likely to experience recruitment bias than men, according to a survey for International Women in Engineering Day.
The annual ‘STEM Returners Index’ is based on a survey of 750 STEM professionals on a career break who are trying to get back into the sector.
Twenty-seven percent of women surveyed said they feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their gender compared to 8% of men, while 30% of women said they feel they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to childcare responsibilities compared to 6% of men.
Both males (39%) and females (43%) said they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to a perceived lack of recent experience.
STEM professionals from black and ethnic minority groups found it more difficult to return to work, with 67% of respondents saying they are finding it difficult, compared to 57% of White British returners.
Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “The UK engineering industry needs to recruit 182,000 engineers annually to keep up with demand – this is not news. But despite this very clear and desperate skills shortage, 61% of STEM professionals on a career break are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult and women are bearing the brunt of this challenge.
“There is a perception that a career break automatically leads to a deterioration of skills. But the reality is, that many people on a career break keep themselves up to date with their industry, are able to refresh their skills easily when back in work and have developed new transferable skills that would actually benefit their employers.”