THE ‘XX’ FACTOR
Science and technology companies must recruit more women if they are to combat acute skills shortages.
Unless employers change their recruitment practices to encourage more women to enter the traditionally male-dominated science, engineering and technology sectors (SET), they will struggle to attract the talent they need. This warning comes from the JIVE project, set up to tackle the under-employment of women in these industries. Annette Williams, Director of UK Resource centre for Women in SET (UKRC), which is leading the project, says: "The UK cannot afford to waste the talents of half its potential workforce. Businesses need to open their doors to women by having in place policies and practises which actively encourage them." At present, only a quarter of women with SET relevant qualifications are actually employed in those sectors.
UKRC has now set up a charter actively supporting the increased representation of women in SET, while JIVE has run university-based workshops, trained 150 women in senior positions within these industries to be ‘mentors’, and is working to establish work experience programmes and sector-specific training.
For more information go to www.jivepartners.org.uk