Chief Editor, WISE
In a difficult economic climate, successful recruitment for essential roles is more important than ever since there will be less budget available to replace people that don’t pass their probation or suit the team.
Many tech companies including Microsoft, Twitter and Tesla have made redundancies recently, just as other STEM-sector organisations currently face a difficult economic backdrop. Many STEM organisations with diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and recruitment targets are waking up to the fact that targeting the wealth of untapped potential offered by women returning to the workforce after a career break may be the best way to fill those essential roles.
Wealth of untapped talent
Such women are often highly educated and/or skilled with considerable experience in the labour market. Employers also often recognise that taking time off to have children or care for elderly relatives may have led to the accrual of new transferable skills such as planning, scheduling, organising and more. A broader recruitment net that recognises these skills will see that women can be an excellent addition to a STEM workforce.
A buddy system pairing returners with other women or people who have had career breaks can help to increase the feeling of belonging.
Creating a returners programme
Recruiting women returners does require some preparation, however. Many will require training, particularly if working in a computing or technology role. Reskilling and support should be offered as part of a coordinated programme. A buddy system pairing returners with other women or people who have had career breaks can help to increase the feeling of belonging.
Personal coaching can help with confidence and establishing a career path, and an employer should also be sure to offer flexible working opportunities where possible. Initiatives must be organised and coordinated with clear objectives established at the outsets. Finally, any returners programme should be supported by senior management.
Conference supporting returners
Supporting women returning into STEM roles is one of the key themes of the WISE Conference 2023, to take place on 21 March at the IET in London.