By Daniel Hunter
A recent survey by GTI Media Research of 550 female undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees shows that the vast majority were heading happily for careers related to their degree.
· There was no significant dissatisfaction expressed about science and engineering careers and only 11 per cent of respondents would be looking seriously at alternatives.
· There is no evidence that better-paid and seemingly more ‘female-friendly’ careers like banking, accountancy and retail are at all attractive options for this group of students. And the fact that they would be joining a male-dominated industry does not put them off.
· They did feel, however, that employers of STEM graduates could do more to promote their careers to female applicants, but they most definitely didn’t want any special treatment or discrimination in recruitment.
They suggested a number of specific actions that employers should take to have a better chance of attracting more applications from STEM females:
· Be much more active in schools to spread the message that STEM careers are exciting for women
· Make the work sound more interesting, exciting and valuable to the country and to people’s lives
· Involve more female role models, especially senior ones, in the marketing of jobs
· Involve more females in the selection process
· Give a clearer explanation of what specifically female STEM graduates can bring to teams, projects and the business
“Clearly the major issue here is demographics; there are not enough women studying STEM degrees," Chris Phillips, GTI Media’s Information and Research Director said.
"But the positive news from this research is that, despite the fact that these women are actively targeted by recruiters from other sectors and who pay more, they are focused on finding work in this area. And they have constructive suggestions about how employers can promote themselves better to women.”
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