UK Growth at Risk due to Crisis of 50,000 Missing Female Minds

Intersect Global are a member of WISE a brilliant organisation who support and promote women in science and engineering.
Here are the findings from their national conference.

The UK’s key growth industries risk stalling unless the country tackles the loss of 50,000 talented girls a year from science, technology and engineering jobs.

British companies face a massive skills crisis in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) of 69,000 recruits a year, while 93 per cent of girls who have great potential face a lifetime of low pay and limited prospects because they do not pursue qualifications for these technology-based industries.

At the our national conference in London today, our chief executive, Helen Wollaston, is calling on the Government, media and schools to work together with WISE to bring an end to the crisis of these missing minds by showing STEM careers can transform the lives of young women and fuel the economy.

Watch the WISE conference live today on YouTube from 11.00am to 12.30pm and 1.45pm to 3.30pm

Helen Wollaston says: “There is a global war for talent – specifically STEM-related talent – and the rest of the world is stealing a march on the UK. These key skills will secure and fuel the UK’s most important industries today and tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose this war; especially when uncertainty around Brexit is further challenging the economic outlook for the UK.

“We are calling for action on three fronts – education, apprenticeships and industrial strategy. OFSTED should analyse the percentage of girls taking science, maths and computing after GCSE – and only give excellent ratings to schools and colleges achieving 24 per cent. This would match the percentage of boys.

“Companies should be allowed to use the new Apprenticeship Levy to market science, technology and engineering apprenticeships to women. And the much talked about UK industrial strategy should aim to have a third of digital jobs filled by women.

“We have to do something dramatic to achieve a shift change.”

She adds that parents have an important role to play too: “Technology careers attract premium salaries and these skills are in high demand – we typically hear of five job offers for every digital graduate. Why wouldn’t you want your daughter to work in this field? But too many parents still discourage young women because they see science, engineering , IT and technology as dirty or dull.

“We all need to work together to show the incredible opportunities for those who study maths, science and computing. The skills crisis is pushing our most productive industries towards breaking point and we all have a role to play in making sure everyone recognises the importance and value of STEM qualifications.

“Far too many students rack up thousands in debt every year chasing degrees that will lead to little in the way of career prospects. If we can turn the tide and get more young women choosing science, technology, engineering and maths, they, and the UK as a whole, will have a much brighter future.”

According to research by WISE girls outperform boys in GCSE science subjects, with near equality in numbers taking these exams. This plummets to just 33 per cent of females after GCSEs and by university, just seven per cent of women take degrees in technology and engineering. This amounts to tens of thousands of talented female students being lost every year.

Wollaston offers practical tips for parents to encourage their daughters: “Get immersed in what the digital based jobs of today and tomorrow look like so you can talk knowledgeably to your daughters. Buy them science and tech-based toys for Christmas – there is a fun dolls house that children can wire up designed by two female engineers at Stanford. Look up inspiring women on the internet and get their school to discuss these.

“Our award finalists this year are a great place to start for inspirational women – they have used science, technology and maths to help breast-feeding mothers, create inspirational businesses, improve safety on construction sites and tackle the danger of battery fires.”

Founded more than 30 years ago, WISE is bringing together industry, academics and government at the conference to discuss how more women can take advantage of careers in science, technology and engineering. The organisation has achieved a great deal in its history, but women still only represent one in five of the total STEM workforce.

WISE also works with employers to increase the number of women on boards and in management positions and helps bosses to make their workplaces more attractive to women.

To help inspire the next generation of female engineers, scientists and digital gurus, WISE has created a top ten of Christmas presents to help parents to encourage their daughter’s interest in STEM skills. The list includes toys to build a human body, create solar powered robots, run a chocolate factory and tell the time with a potato clock.

For press enquiries or to arrange interviews with Helen Wollaston, WISE board members or WISE awards finalists and winners, contact Ben Pindar, Northern Lights, on 01423 562400 or email

Key facts on girls in STEM subjects

A total of 90,910 students (male and female) a year go on to study STEM subjects or take a STEM qualification post 16
Girls consistently outperform across most GCSE subjects, even more so in STEM than in other subjects (71% of girls achieve A*-C grades in STEM, compare to only 62% of boys)
In the year to August 2016, a total of 295,584 boys and a total of 288,084 girls took STEM subjects at GCSE. It is compulsory to take maths and at least one science subject course at GCSE
When it came to moving on to A-Levels, Advanced Apprenticeships or Level 3 Vocational Qualifications, there were 237,509 boys and 97,557 girls. 66% per cent of girls drop all STEM subjects at this stage .
When it came to moving on to higher education, Higher Apprenticeships and Level 4 Vocational Qualifications, there were 70,573 boys and just 20,337 girls – a shortfall of 50,236 girls
A total of 24% of boys move into higher STEM programmes but just 7% of girls follow the same path.
There is a shortfall of 69,000 qualified people each year to fill predicted vacancies in engineering companies. The largest proportion of job openings will be in construction, and ICT related fields, posing a massive threat to British industry.
The Engineering sector alone will need to recruit 2.56 million people by 2022, of which 257,000 will be new jobs

Read More

How to Stay Positive in an Uncertain World

In recent years, the simple act of flipping on the evening news has become a challenging experience for those of us who strive to maintain a positive attitude. Just sitting there in your living room, watching one upsetting news story … Continue reading

The Do’s and Dont’s of Video Interviews

Despite a hybrid return to the office, interviews continue to be conducted via video link as a first port of call followed by face to face second stage interviews. So, what can you do to ensure you are invited for … Continue reading