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Pandemic Leads Women to Consider Career Change; 2 in 5 Looking at STEM

Pandemic Leads Women to Consider Career Change; 2 in 5 Looking at STEM

Oct. 28, 2020
“The key is to remove roadblocks so that top talent can enter, stay and flourish in STEM careers,” says MetLife study.

The economic fallout of COVID-19 has had a severe impact on women in the workplace. In fact, 58%  say COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their careers., according to a  new survey from MetLife examining the barriers women are facing amid the pandemic.

Despite this disruption – or perhaps because of it – roughly 1 in 4 women have been considering a career change since the pandemic hit.

Many women are looking at STEM fields, specifically, with 2 in 5 noting that they are interested in pursuing a career in STEM, an industry forecasted to grow at a greater rate than non-STEM industries in the years ahead.

 “We have an opportunity to turn this moment of crisis into a moment of opportunity that accelerates the number of women entering STEM professions,” said Susan Podlogar, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at MetLife. “The key is to remove roadblocks so that top talent can enter, stay and flourish in STEM careers.”

While increased interest in STEM is promising, there are still barriers to overcome. Among the survey respondents:

  • Only one-quarter of women feel that STEM professions are supportive of women and their career advancement, compared to nearly twice as many who said the education industry was supportive.
  • Nearly half (44%) of women credit uncertainty as the biggest barrier to pursuing a career in STEM.
  • Almost 25% of women said they were deterred by a lack of skills or lack of mentorship.

However, the survey also discovered several employer-offered programs that would encourage women to pursue careers in STEM, with more than one-third citing “returnship” programs – which help experienced professionals who left the workforce for an extended period of time re-launch their careers – and nearly 40% pointing to digital accelerator programs.

 “By understanding the obstacles women face, companies can develop solutions to make STEM a more attainable career choice,” said Bill Pappas, executive vice president and head of Global Technology and Operations at MetLife. 

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