After more than 18 months of experiencing impacts on their careers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many women are now planning a return to the workforce, according to a new MetLife survey. Nearly half of women (48 percent) said the pandemic has negatively impacted their careers. Yet almost two in three (63 percent) who left the workforce during this period say they are ready to return. Eight in 10 of those are considering careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This reflects a shift in the paradigm from the “Great Resignation” to the “Great Reevaluation.”
“We’ve reached a critical inflection point in the workplace where women are evaluating their careers in a new light,” said Bill Pappas, executive vice president and head of Global Technology and Operations at MetLife. “It’s more important than ever that organizations – particularly those in STEM – offer the solutions that help women succeed. MetLife has a longstanding commitment of doing just that, promoting gender equity through programs like technical internships, trainings, and peer-to-peer mentoring – all of which aim to equip women in the workforce with the skills they need in demand areas.”
Women in STEM want change
Employer-offered benefits and programs play a critical role in ensuring that women succeed and feel supported, particularly related to the retention of women in STEM fields.
The MetLife survey shows women interested in STEM identify several factors that would encourage them to pursue a career in those fields:
- More diversity, equity and inclusion in the leadership pipeline (38 percent).
- Benefits that better fit their needs (33 percent).
- More flexibility in work arrangements (31 percent).
- Dedicated trainings that help their career progression (30 percent).
- Paid internships or apprenticeships (29 percent).
- Employee resource groups (28 percent).
Harnessing the Great Reevaluation
Using these survey insights to inform action, MetLife assembled technology and business thought leaders at its third-annual virtual Triangle Tech X Conference on Oct. 26-27.
“We need to ensure that women are inspired and empowered to grow their career by addressing what companies can do to support women at this pivotal moment,” said Susan Podlogar, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at MetLife. “With so many women considering a STEM career and one in three saying they don’t know where to start, employers have both a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help them forge a path forward.”
The two-day conference hosted discussions with MetLife board members, executives and thought leaders. They came from organizations such as Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Red Hat, Thrive Global, Black Girls CODE and more. The conference addressed both near- and long-term solutions for employers to develop, support and sustain the female workforce. Attendees considered how to provide women in STEM with key learnings and actionable insights for career empowerment.
MetLife conducted its 2021 Women in STEM Study in September 2021. The study was fielded by Rainmakers CSI. The survey consists of a representative sample of 2,000 interviews with people in the US workforce, ages 18 to 65, and boosted to achieve n=200 female STEM workers and n=200 male STEM workers. Please note: the US workforce includes full-time employees, part-time employees, gig workers and those unemployed but seeking work. It also included a representative subset of 147 students.
About Rainmakers CSI
Rainmakers CSI is a global strategy, insight and planning consultancy. Since its inception in 2007, Rainmakers CSI has worked collaboratively with leading companies to help define opportunities for brands, categories and businesses. Its expertise spans across Financial Services, Food and Drink, Beauty, Healthcare, Telecoms, Technology, Entertainment and Travel. Rainmakers CSI is headquartered in London. Its programs and client relationships span all continents, with 50 percent of its work originating in the US. For more information, visit www.rainmakerscsi.com.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the world’s leading financial services companies. It provides insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 markets. It holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
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