More Women Are Thinking Of Leaving Their Careers


Forward Ladies releases national report findings on “Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM” 

Forward Ladies today announced the findings of a national survey, “Women in STEM; Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM Report”. 

stem survey report

The goal of the report, which is sponsored by Yorkshire Water, Sky Betting & Gaming, BT, Coca-Cola and Graham Construction, was to gain insight into the experiences of STEM employees working in the sectors, how businesses can improve diversity inclusion and what has been successful so far.

Conducted online, the survey ran from June – August 2017 and received responses from 1,299 participants working in STEM. Participants included both men and women, working throughout the UK and beyond, at various stages of their STEM careers.

The report found that there is a major skills crisis in STEM sectors, which is costing the UK economy up to £27bn a year. It highlighted that workplace diversity within the STEM sector remains a major challenge, with just 13 per cent of roles being filled by women, and a staggering 29 per cent of women being unhappy in their current roles, with engineering and technology the worst hit.

Griselda Togobo, managing director of Forward Ladies, said: “Companies seem to be working to change the lack of diversity within the sector yet the numbers have remained largely unchanged for the past few years. I felt it was time to hear from the women themselves, to understand the challenges they currently faced and gain insight that can help employers bridge the gender gap in the sector.”

She continued: “Hearing female voices talk about this subject is all very well, but getting businesses and male leadership on board as champions is needed too.”

“Inclusive leadership has a crucial role to play in shaping an inclusive culture in STEM workplaces. Ultimately, the STEM sector, like all other sectors, needs to find the best talent, from new entrants right the way to the boardroom; so, it’s counterproductive if it marginalises people because of their gender. We need to do more to make STEM more appealing to women and tackle the negative perceptions that are stopping us enjoying rewarding and fulfilling careers.”

 Report key findings:

  • Recruitment – Word of mouth recruitment practices are still prevailing. As this will inevitably prevent diverse workforces, we’ve discovered online recruitment methods as the most popular alternative recruitment method.
  • Role Models – There is a lack of role models that are inspiring women into STEM.
  • Pay Gaps – Ethnicity and gender both still play a role in what employees are being paid.
  • Huge Potential for Upskilling – There are gaps in women working in technical roles and those who have access to development schemes.

A full version of the report can be found at

Rebecca McDonnell, head of talent at Yorkshire Water, believes it’s imperative to build an inclusive culture and explains how Yorkshire Water is rising to the challenge: “Being inclusive is important for our business and we’ve made good progress in terms of diversity in recent years, particularly in improving the gender balance within Yorkshire Water.”

“Our management and senior management is now well over 30% female, which is a tipping point in terms of change. We’ve achieved that through investing in female-led workplace development programmes, including the STEM programme with Forward Ladies, creating a bespoke development programme.”

Head of recruitment at Sky Betting & Gaming, Matt Hughes, said: “80 per cent of our employees are male. Some areas challenge that, for example, our Legal and Compliance team is over 50 per cent female, but in areas such as software engineering and trading, it’s tough to recruit women with the right skills purely because the size of the talent pool is smaller.

“We offer incredibly flexible working, career progression opportunities, help with childcare, robust benefits and strong learning and development opportunities. Ultimately, it’s a place where women can find their way to the career they want.”

A STEM Report Roundtable has been scheduled by Forward Ladies for Friday 10 November 2017, to be held at Sky Betting & Gaming, Leeds. This is a formal launch event to discuss the findings of the report, to gain personal insights on the challenges being faced by STEM employers in bridging the gender gap in STEM and also identify best practice to increase diversity with the workplace. Book your place here –

How do we get more women into STEM? Find out here: