Three in 10 STEM professionals who have returned to employment in STEM industries have found the transition 'difficult' or 'very difficult', according to survey

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24th January 2022 14:28 - Engineering

Three in 10 STEM professionals who have returned to employment in STEM industries have found the transition 'difficult' or 'very difficult': A survey of people who have left STEM employment only to return after a career break, has revealed that although 94% were happy to get back to a STEM career, around three in 10 (29%) have found the transition 'difficult' or 'very difficult'. This compares to just 16% of respondents who have found the process 'easy' or 'very easy' over the last 12 months.

The findings were revealed by the STEM Returners Index – an annual survey to better understand the barriers that STEM professionals are experiencing when trying to return to their STEM career and track the progress STEM industries are making with solving these issues.

The latest survey revealed that 61% of STEM professionals who are currently on a career break have found the process of attempting to return to work either 'difficult' or 'very difficult', compared to just 6% of respondents finding the process easy.

When asked about the reasons for finding the process difficult, the most common response given was that they feel employers are put off by gaps in their employment, while other barriers included finding jobs that either allow flexible working, or are part-time to cater for childcare responsibilities. Other difficulties in returning, according to the poll, included job adverts that they felt asked for specific skills and do not consider transferable skills.

The research also found that 36% of returners have felt that bias in the recruitment process has been a barrier to them personally returning to their career, with the findings also suggesting that recruitment processes seem to be working against women & minority ethnic groups. Two-thirds (67%) of BME respondents reported finding it 'difficult' or 'very difficult', compared to 57% of White British respondents. The survey also revealed that women were six times more likely to state that a lack of flexibility in working hours was a barrier to return. 

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