What attracts women and non-binary people into STEM careers?

Apr 18, 2023 | Diversity, Home Featured, Research, Uncategorized

A new report by STEM Women shows what is influencing women and non-binary students and graduates considering STEM careers.

STEM Women has published a new in-depth report, which explores female and non-binary students’ and graduates’ attitudes towards their future careers in STEM.

The report analyses data collected between 2019 and 2022 to reveal new insights into the future STEM workforce. You can read more about STEM Women research in their post about what STEM graduates want from employers in 2023.

The new report highlights the ever-increasing importance of equality, diversity and inclusion for incoming hires, as well as the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the growing focus on students’ and graduates’ confidence levels.

Understanding the Gender Imbalance in STEM uses survey data gathered from students and recent graduates who identify as women or non-binary and who are studying STEM-related disciplines at universities across the UK and Ireland.

The whitepaper reveals a number of key factors affecting the way these in-demand graduates apply for roles, what they are looking for in a prospective employer, and which criteria may influence their decision to accept or renege on a job offer.

Equal representation

Students and graduates are now more likely to expect to see equal representation of men and women within an organisation’s workforce.

An increasing number of of respondents said they would be less willing to work for an employer who did not demonstrate a genuine commitment to equality and diversity, and this could even lead them to decline a job offer.

Low confidence

Increasing numbers of female and non-binary students and graduates are identifying with the concept of ‘imposter syndrome’. They are also reporting low confidence. The report examines why this may be a particular issue within STEM.

Read more about building student confidence in graduate employment

In-person events

The research found that students and graduates are demonstrating a clear preference for in-person events, whilst there is still a demand for virtual engagement too.

This audience can be inspired to join an organisation by hearing first-hand accounts of a current employee’s career journey, underlining the preference for authentic engagement over corporate gloss.

Read more about what students want from employability events

Rate of change

“There will always be a perceived perception of male and female industries/clothes/toys etc. Society needs to improve before companies can.”

Finally, female and non-binary students and graduates are feeling less confident that we will see significant change in representation in STEM in the coming decade, and expect a more moderate rate of change.

STEM Women is encouraging education and business leaders to use this report to spark conversations about the reasons for this decline in confidence, and to consider the steps needed to harness the potential of these talented individuals within STEM industries.

You may also be interested in reading:

How Arm and Uptree are engaging school students in STEM careers

Research sheds new light to attract women to STEM careers

How to attract more women into STEM

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