CaSE has published a new policy review on improving diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), with key recommendations for government.
The review finds that although there has been significant progress in gender diversity over the last 20 years and, more recently, increased awareness brought to other areas, such as ethnicity, disability and socio-economic inequality, continued specific and intentional efforts are needed to ensure that this momentum is sustained throughout the sector.
The briefing makes two main recommendations for Government;
- A careers strategy that means business: Embed diversity and inclusion through a joined-up national careers strategy and do more to encourage flexible working practices and career pathways.
- Decisive action on diversity data: Government should lead the way with national statistics and coordinate central analysis and monitoring to understand causes of under-representation, ensuring evidence can inform action taken by Government and other organisations
The review brings together recent reports and research to make a clear case for why improving diversity in STEM matters, as well as illustrating the progress that has been achieved over the last 110 years with a timeline of legislative changes and other key landmarks.
This review is the first of three policy briefings being published by CaSE through February and March 2018; on diversity, immigration and Brexit.
For further details about the reports and other work cited in the review see CaSE's evidence base on diversity - a policy resource collating key sector reports, facts and figures. Alongside our briefing are running a series of guest blogs highlighting the work happening across the sector to improve diversity and inclusion. These, along with all our recent work on diversity can be found on our diversity page.
The policy review makes two recommendations, with key asks under those:
1. A careers strategy that means business
Embed diversity and inclusion throughout a joined-up careers strategy and do more to encourage flexible working practices and career pathways.
- Schools and colleges need additional funding if they are to adequately deliver on the Career Leader ambition. Therefore, increase the budget for schools and colleges by £40m to fund 0.25 FTE (based on average teacher salary) to fulfil the role.
- Evaluate activities to engage parents and teachers with STEM careers and pathways as part of the Year of Engineering, and put in place longer term funded programmes where they prove to be effective, particularly for under-represented groups.
- The new National Careers Service website should emphasise case studies of diverse STEM role models and career pathways.
- Include a specific diversity function in the National STEM Ambassador programme. Incentivise volunteers from apprenticeship schemes and SMEs, and increase monitoring of volunteer characteristics such as disability and socio-economic background, to allow channelling to where they can have the most impact.
- Further support the Daphne Jackson Trust to increase retention of skilled researchers. To address inequality in retention in other STEM professions, develop and fund retention pilots particularly in areas of shortage, such as STEM teachers and engineers.
2. Decisive action on diversity data
Government should lead the way with national statistics and coordinate central analysis and monitoring to understand causes of under-representation, ensuring evidence can inform action taken by Government and other organisations.
- Mandate the Institute for Apprenticeships to embed diversity monitoring, ensuring coverage of multiple characteristics by sector. Consider options for using funding as a lever to increase diversity where progress is insufficient.
- UKRI's creation is an opportunity to build on diversity data collected by its constituent councils. UKRI should embed diversity monitoring, including publishing data on the number of studentships and fellowships which are held on a part-time basis, addressing any issues highlighted by evaluation of data.
- The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring research and business together to meet major industrial and societal challenges. Some of the next wave of funding should set out a challenge to improve diversity in STEM.
- To build on successful science outreach work by many organisations, The National Centre for Coordinating Public Engagement should be funded to take a lead role in collating an evidence base of what works for engaging under-represented groups in STEM, and provide clear guidance for organisations designing evidence-based activities.
- Increase transparency of data provided on the government ‘Ethnicity facts and figures’ website, with breakdown by sector and intersectional characteristics.