Students don’t feel clued up on STEM careers

A third of students feel underinformed about STEM careers, according to new research carried out by Atomik Research on behalf of Centrica. Nearly half of the 1,063 students between the ages of 14 and 18 could not name a female role model in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.

Furthermore, nearly a third of male teachers (29%) believe that STEM careers are more suited to boys than girls, compared to 16% of female teachers. 23% of the teachers surveyed do not feel confident or do not know if job opportunities exist for girls going into STEM careers.

Alongside this,  research by L’Oréal found that on average, 55% of 16-18 year old students are not studying science. Of those, 40% said it was because they don’t think science would lead to a career they would want to do, and just under a third (29%) lack confidence in their science skills.

Combining these revelations highlights the continued existence of both a skills and gender gap within STEM subjects and careers. The next question is: what is the solution to and how can employers help?

L’Oréal has unveiled a new campaign that aims to encourage female role models to visit local schools and talk to primary-school aged children to help inspire the next generation of scientists. By informing young people about the vast array of opportunities that STEM careers could offer them, it is hoped more students, particularly females, can see their own potential in these industries.

Paul Gilliam, HR Director – UK & Ireland at L’Oréal, highlights how important education on science careers is, alongside supporting women already in STEM industries to ensure they are reaching their full potential and can be guiding lights for young girls.

“It is important that we proactively encourage women who are looking to enter into science professions and support those that are already there,” he says. “We believe fostering female scientists of the future starts much earlier in life, which is why, to mark the tenth anniversary of For Women in Science, we have linked with the Inspiring the Future programme, run by UK charity Education & Employers, to inspire the next generation of scientists by encouraging both boys and girls to take an interest in science at primary school age.

“Companies have a responsibility to give back to the community and we truly believe that by encouraging more scientists into schools and opening children’s eyes to the range of careers that science leads to, we can help make scientific jobs feel both exciting and attainable and ultimately achieve a better gender balance in science.”

Gender has been a hotly debated topic in recent months; but then it has always been. It must continue to be spoken about and acted upon to ensure equal gender representation and pay in all industries.

When it comes to STEM, employers within these industries can help to educate young people to open their eyes to the vast opportunities available to them. Engaging with young people throughout their school life may be a heavy time constraint, but this technique can be incorporated within your school leaver or graduate recruitment process.

School leavers, students and recent graduates care about social responsibility and equality. By showing them you too are invested in this in all levels of your company, from recruitment to the continued nurturing of employee talent, you will attract a diverse range of top youth talent.

For suggestions on how we could work alongside you to create bespoke campaigns that can advertise your job openings, or to raise awareness of opportunities in specific industries such as STEM through events or similar, please contact

Milkround and SMRS’s ‘Women In STEM’ Insight Breakfast

STEM’s male dominated industry puts women off entering the sector, says Milkround and SMRS research

ONE third of women are put off pursuing a career in STEM industries, as they perceive it to be male dominated, finds new research which delves into the student mindset when it comes to choosing a career in STEM related roles.

With 54% of females believing that women will struggle to earn as much as men in this sector there appears to be a growing gap which employers must address when it comes to diversifying their annual graduate intake and satisfying increasing quotas.

With many companies operating in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics sectors and looking to take positive steps with regards to brand building and changing the status quo, Milkround the UK’s leading youth recruitment site and specialist recruitment marketing communications agency SMRS delved into the reasons behind the lack of women entering this industry.

Key findings:

  • 23% of female school leavers believe their male counterparts receive more support in choosing a STEM career than females
  • Over 50% of respondents believe that women struggle to earn as much as men in STEM industries
  • 18% more males obtained a STEM role upon graduation than females who had studied in the same field.

This research stemmed from a noticeable rise in employer requests to target females studying particular industry subjects. Over 2,400 school leavers, students and graduates took the time to partake in this research, divulging their opinions and perceptions on the STEM industry.

Following the research, three focus groups were held for each audience- school leavers, students and graduates- to further qualify the results of the research. Another topic was discussed too- that of employer website branding, and how female STEM careerists engage with different types of branding and usability. Students who partook in the research noted that authenticity, friendliness and personalisation such as commuting distance were key factors in engagement, whist stock imagery, impersonal content, and poor user experiences through the application process, were most likely to put potential applications off.

The insight was revealed to graduate recruitment industry experts on the 18th of April 2016 at Milkround’s Insight Breakfast, held at their headquarters in London Bridge. Over 50 employees attended, including representatives from Sky, Thales and EY.

Carolyn Beadsmoore, Sales and Marketing Manager at SMRS said: “The focus on STEM careers, both in the UK and worldwide, is becoming vitally important to ensure organisations have the right talent and skill sets to support their future growth.

 “There are not enough individuals choosing to study STEM, and maybe, even more worrying as our research showed, is that about 50% of those, both male and female, studying STEM subjects are choosing career paths in non-STEM related roles. The focus for this latest research was to understand the choices, and identify any barriers, that women face when choosing a potential STEM career.

 “This has given us the insight to start looking at the opportunities and timings for organisations to connect with this audience through education, engagement and encouragement, with the ultimate goal of attracting more women into STEM roles.”

To see the full report, contact Milkround:



You’re invited: Opportunities for Women in STEM

Join us on the 18th April to find out the results from our latest research project with SMRS: Opportunities for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Our research, conducted with over 2,400 school leavers, students and graduates, delves into how candidates feel about their opportunities in the STEM industries. The research specifically focused on women and their perceptions of the sector. The results establish:

  • Gaps in school and employer influence
  • Key motivations for school leavers, students and graduates
  • Work related opportunities they received while studying
  • Barriers for those who chose not to pursue a STEM career

SMRS will also be talking through their employer branding research, compiled from a series of focus groups conducted with graduate employers in mind. The focus groups produced some fascinating insights on the best ways to engage female candidates in the STEM space.

The details
18th April 2016
The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF
What time?
9.00am – 11.30am

Please RSVP to confirm your place at the event by 13th April 2016. To RSVP, email