The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Prospect have teamed up to release a guide for Progressing Women in STEM Roles.

The union for professionals, Prospect, joined forces with the IET in March to announce its plans for the guide, which supports employers working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in being able to take action to improve gender diversity and inclusion in their workforce

The guide offers employers suggestions and best practice examples on how to attract more female candidates and steps to retain them and develop their careers. Tips are also given to managers to ensure promotions are fair and how to implement a ‘return to work’ programme.

The guide also covers unconscious bias, evaluating and monitoring the progress of diversity policies, and ensuring all staff feel valued regardless of gender.

Naomi Climer, IET President, said: “Only 9% of engineering staff are women and the lack of gender diversity is contributing to skills shortages that are damaging the economy. The shocking reality is that the UK is missing out on half of its potential engineering and technology workforce by failing to attract women into the industry.

“With this in mind, the IET is leading the way in encouraging more women into the sector. We know, for example, that many employers acknowledge that the lack of women in their organisations is a real problem, and so we hope this guidance will prompt them to take practical action to address this – both in terms of how they recruit more women and how they nurture the talent of those they already employ.”

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015

The IET tied in the launch of its guide with the announcement of its Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 award

This year’s winner was an Audio Engineer called Orla Murphy from Warwickshire. Employed by Jaguar Land Rover the 25 year old collected her award at an awards ceremony in London.women with phone featured

Climer added: “The announcement of our Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015 also has an equally important role to play when it comes to gender diversity issues. By celebrating the achievements of exceptional women like Orla, we are giving young women a role model who will show them that women can make a real difference in our sector.”

Sue Ferns, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said: “With around 20,000 members working in STEM, we are acutely aware of both the skills challenge these roles face and their vital contribution to building a more sustainable economy. Prospect has been working hard to encourage greater recruitment and retention of women which we believe is key to tackling the emerging skills crisis. The practical guidance published today builds on this and incorporates our pioneering work with employers in tackling unconscious bias.”

Denise McGuire, Vice President of Prospect, added: “Here at Prospect we are huge advocates of promoting equality and fairness in the workplace which is why we were delighted to work closely with the IET on guidance to help women progress in STEM roles. I’m sure the guidelines will be an invaluable tool for any employer, especially those in STEM, who are looking to become more female friendly in the way they recruit and retain staff.”