STEM Returners has launched its FIFTH annual survey

Return-to-work specialists STEM Returners has launched its FIFTH annual survey to understand STEM professionals’ experiences of trying to re-enter the workplace after a career break.

The 2024 STEM Returners Index is open to all STEM professionals who have had a gap in their career of any length, or who are attempting to return to work, or who have recently returned to work.

The survey is anonymous and asks a range of questions including reasons for a career break and what challenges were faced when attempting to return to work. The results will enable STEM Returners to further understand the barriers people face, track the progress UK STEM industries are making, and shine a light on the change needed to create fair opportunities for all.

More than 1000 people completed last year’s survey, which showed women who were trying to return to the engineering industry after a career break were more likely to experience recruitment bias than men. Nearly a quarter (24%) of women said they felt they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their gender compared to nine percent of men.

Professionals from minority ethnic backgrounds represented a large proportion (39%) of candidates attempting to return to work in 2023. They were twice as likely as all other ethnic groups (34% vs average of 17%) to feel they have experienced bias in a recruitment process related to race or ethnicity, according to the report. Both men (29%) and women (25%) said they felt they have personally experienced bias in recruitment processes due to their age. As a result, 30% of returners said their personal confidence has been affected by the recruitment challenges they face, and their low confidence remains a barrier.

Natalie Desty, Founder of STEM Returners said: “Sadly, there is a misconception that a career break leads to a deterioration of skills but in our experience that’s simply not true. Most people keep up to date with the latest developments in their field, undertake training while on a break and develop new, transferable skills that would benefit an employer. But recruitment bias in the system means, when they are ready to return to work, they face an uphill battle. We want to get more detailed insight into these challenges and use this valuable information to help employers improve their recruitment processes. I would like to personally encourage any STEM professional who has had a career break, of any length, to take part in the survey and tell us about their experiences.”

The 2024 survey will be open until 30 June 2024. Follow the link to complete the survey, STEM Returners Index 2024 Starting survey…,

The 2024 STEM Returners Index will be published in September 2024.

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