Study Examines Difficulties Women in STEM Fields Face When They Return From a Career Break

A new study has found that more than 60 percent of STEM professionals looking to return to work after a career break – such as during the global pandemic or maternity leave – have found the process difficult or very difficult. Only 6 percent have found the process easy. The survey found that women made up half of the professionals looking to return to the industry after a career break, even though women make up a small percentage of the total number of professionals in the sector.

The survey also found that 27 percent of women returning to jobs in the STEM sector after a career break have experienced gender bias. Only 8 percent of men reported that they had been victims of gender bias after a career break. Some 30 percent of women felt they were victims of bias due to their childcare responsibilities.

Women were 76 percent more likely than men to never receive feedback on unsuccessful job applications.

The authors of the report conclude that “it is clear to see the recruitment system is flawed, making it almost impossible for a STEM professional to pick up their career where they left it before taking a career break. The industry is failing the returners community. Collectively, we should not stop until we have created a level playing field for returners, put an end to unconscious bias in recruitment processes, and removed the hidden barriers returners face today.”

The full study, The STEM Returnerers Index, may be viewed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields

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