3 ways organisations can entice diverse STEM talent in 2020

Posted: March 5, 2020

When it comes to generating an interest in technology, Cambridge is undoubtedly a great place to spark a career and work. Not only is Cambridge a city full of fantastic STEM start-ups, but it’s also a great place for developing STEM talent. This, coupled with the real blend of passion, energy and enthusiasm that the Cambridge STEM scene brings, keeps any HR and talent acquisition professional on their toes.

Attracting talent has been a challenge for technology companies for many years. There are many companies competing within the same pool of talent. However, with regards to female talent, this pool gets even smaller.

So, how can organisations entice and secure diverse STEM talent? Here are three things to consider

1/ Engage earlier
Engaging with talent shouldn’t necessarily begin when prospective employees graduate from university or start internships or work experience. Many organisations miss the opportunity to introduce younger generations to STEM-related roles and organisations while they are still in school. It is in these earlier educational years that children and younger people start to develop initial career interests.

Organising an advocacy programme that visits local schools to demonstrate technological capabilities will nurture their imaginations, and will introduce them to roles and organisations that they were not initially aware of. Introducing both male and female STEM advocates into schools also feeds curiosity and inspires younger generations, while simultaneously breaking down gender stereotypes with regards to science, technology and engineering careers.

It’s also important for technology companies to understand generational differences when engaging with younger workers. In recent years we’ve seen a huge difference in terms of the talent entering the workplace. From how they expect to interact with workplace technology to more transparency and access to senior leaders, organisations need to ensure that they are retaining the young technology-savvy individuals that are entering the workforce.

2/ Senior representation
Alongside encouraging young female talent to join the STEM sector, organisations should also, where possible, assist with bringing more women into executive and senior leadership positions. Organisations needs to create the right culture to attract more women into these positions and at the same time recognizing women’s achievements in the organisation inspiring them to take on new responsibilities and more senior roles. This t will also give the younger generations a greater number of female role models and mentors who are physical proof that women do also belong in STEM – and most importantly, can exceed.

Nurturing your existing team is as important as attracting external talent. To be a technology company of choice for women, a multi-pronged approach is required that focuses on workplace equality, ‘returnships’ and employee nurturing.

3/ Challenging the norms
As the STEM industry is typically not incredibly varied, it’s important to really challenge any preconceived ideas or attitudes about capability and competency when recruiting.

Rather than focusing purely on experience organisations need to invest in candidates who have the potential develop and grow into a role. If skills are trainable, it’s certainly worth investing in women STEM who demonstrate the drive and determination to succeed.

Ultimately, women in STEM need a good support system. Getting in touch with mentors (alongside becoming one yourself) and maintaining networks and relationships will not only help from a recruitment perspective, but will also break down those ceilings and walls.

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