The study aims to provide focused and actionable insights and tips for employers so STEM SME employers can better attract and retain diverse talent. Companies with gender-balanced teams and leadership are recognised to be more profitable and sustainable.

The historic gender imbalance in the STEM industries is well known and documented. According to the WISE Campaign, in the UK, only 23 per cent of all people employed in STEM industries are women.

When broken down into the four main categories of STEM industries, the WISE Campaign reports that 11 per cent of the total engineering occupations are held by women, compared with 27 per cent of science and engineering technician occupations, 17 per cent for ICT occupations, 19 per cent for IT technician occupations, and 42 per cent in science occupations.

Purpose HR witnesses employers’ interest in attracting more women to their workplaces, but this interest on the part of the employers is not often met by a sufficient number of women candidates with the necessary skills and experience.

This has led Purpose HR to question whether recruitment initiatives are attracting the right pools of talent, and if there are ways of tailoring recruitment exercises to better attract women.

There seems to be a lack of useful guidance on how to attract women to STEM occupations, and so the survey aims to address this gap in knowledge by going to the source and asking women what attracts them (and what puts them off applying) to jobs in STEM.

The results of the study are intended to help Purpose HR understand how SMEs can tailor working conditions to better attract and retain female candidates, for example flexible hours, and enhanced family-friendly policies. 

The survey is sponsored by Administrate and Modulr and endorsed by Girl Geek Scotland.

Lisa Thomson from Purpose HR said: “We work with innovative and fast growing clients across tech, engineering and life sciences and hiring diverse talent to grow their teams is a key strategic challenge.

“We are launching this survey with the support of our partners so we can gain insights directly from talented women working in these fields, so their voices can be heard to help develop improved talent attraction and retention strategies to support diversity initiatives.”

Sam Rhynas from Girl Geek Scotland said: “Girl Geek Scotland are delighted to support initiatives to help understand, develop and improve key areas in the pipeline to increasing diversity in SMEs in Scotland. We’re so pleased to see such a large number of our local businesses signing up to come along and hear about this survey.

“We’re very keen to work in partnership with SMEs to help facilitate environments where they can share the challenges they face and solutions they find are working.”



Women in STEM survey

Purpose HR

Girl Geek Scotland