STEM employers are still faced with the same 2 key issues. A lack of women in technical STEM roles, and the STEM skills gap. With female diversity in engineering remaining at 10-12%, and a shortage of STEM qualified candidates, against rising requirements, we must do something different. If we keep recruiting in the same, overused talent pools, we will keep getting the same results.
Against the challenging recruitment backdrop, would it surprise you that there are thousands of highly qualified candidates who have left STEM and struggled to return? as well as candidates with highly transferrable skills who wish to switch industries? IMarEST (The Institute of Marine, Engineering, Science and Technology), in partnership with WES (Women’s Engineering Society) have created a STEM Returners programme to facilitate a return to work or industry transfer via a supported return to work scheme.
As the STEM skills gap intensifies, this programme will provide access to untapped talent pools of both male and female returners, re-entrants and transferrers, as a direct response to the 3 key and universal STEM challenges below.
- A lack of mid- senior career engineers
- A lack of female engineers
- A perceived difficulty in attracting and re-training engineers from other industries.
The key barrier to people returning to STEM after a career break, is the perception of recruiters and hiring managers, that a CV gap automatically equates to a deterioration of skills.
Simply put, these CV’s will seldom find their way through your standard recruitment channels. This is a waste of talent, it leads to female engineers working either below their capability (or in an entirely different profession), and has long term implications on the STEM engineering talent pipeline.
The STEM Returners Programme is a structured paid 13-week employment placement for professionals returning to work after a career break, or looking to transfer between sectors. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, the programme will provide additional support for the returner, such as confidence building, training, career coaching, networking opportunities and peer support. At the end of the programme, at the agreement of the employer and the returner, there will also be the option for ongoing employment. This isn’t just work experience, but a genuine opportunity to restart careers!
The STEM Returners Programme will benefit participating companies in the following ways:
- Target untapped group of highly qualified and experienced professionals- these candidates will not generally apply for open vacancies via standard recruitment channels, and will not be represented by recruitment companies (internal or external).
- Increase gender diversity- Attracting re-entrants is a positive way to affect the diversity of your technical team, which is proven to benefit your bottom line performance.
- Diverse candidate attraction- the programme is designed to attract and enable diverse candidates to apply
- Address experienced hire talent gaps- the aim of the programme is to fill long standing, hard to fill talent gaps with experienced returning STEM professionals.
- Reduce recruitment risk through trial period- employers are given the option to offer a permanent or contract role at the end of the programme, but aren’t obligated. The programme works as a 13-week interview, allowing companies to reduce costly recruitment mistakes.
- Build new employee loyalty and increase likelihood of success- research suggests that returner programmes create long term employee loyalty, and significantly improve retention.
- Increase retention of current female employees- research suggests that the retention benefit extends across all female employees.
- Innovative response to identified industry problem- there are a very small number of engineering examples starting to appear. This gives participating companies an opportunity to be a trailblazer and create a successful programme before your competitors.
If you are interested in running a programme, or want any more information please contact us (link)