The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) has launched its inquiry into Equity in the UK STEM workforce.

Following on from the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM’s inquiry into Equity in STEM Education that focussed on the education pipeline, this inquiry will examine how the Government and organisations employing STEM workers are helping to create a diverse and inclusive environment. This inquiry will evolve the argument from problems in education and the talent pipeline, to examine the reality of the working world. The final report will be launched in summer 2021.

The inquiry was launched at an event on 10 November 2020. For more information, please see Launch event - Inquiry on Equity in the STEM workforce. A full recording of the event can be found here.

The APPG has published a Data Analysis Brief on the diversity and representation in the STEM (including health) workforce as it stood in 2019. The key findings include:

  • Out of a workforce of 32.8 million people, 5.9 million (18%) worked in STEM occupations.
  • The STEM workforce has a lower share of female workers (27% vs. 52%) and disabled people (11% vs. 14%) than the rest of the workforce.
  • The share of ethnic minority workers in STEM is on a par with the rest of the economy, as a result of a workers with Indian ethnicity being more likely to work in STEM than elsewhere. People of other ethnic minorities tend to be under-represented in STEM.
  • Disabled people of all ethnicities are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. The gap in representation between STEM workers and others, is larger for disabled women than disabled men. While a majority of non-STEM disabled workers are female (59%), only one-third (33%) of STEM disabled workers are female.
  • 65% of the STEM workforce are White men.
  • Proportionally, White women are less likely to be STEM workers than ethnic minority women: 10% of White female workers are in STEM, compared to 13% of ethnic minority female workers.
  • There is little difference in the gender balance of the STEM workforce when the youngest age group (16-29), within which 29% of STEM workers are female, is compared to those aged 30-49 in STEM, a group which is 28% female.

Call For Evidence (closes: 17.00, 29 January 2021)

Submit Evidence 

The APPG welcomes submissions of evidence from as wide a range of respondents in the UK, including:

  • Organisations who employ STEM workers including from the private, public and non-profit sectors
  • Organisations that work with or represent current or future STEM workers
  • Individuals and/or informal groups.

Further guidance for submitting evidence can be found in the Call for Evidence document.

Key questions

The APPG welcomes written submissions into all aspects of equity in the STEM workforce, and is particularly interested in the following: 

1. What are the demographics of STEM workers in your organisation or sector? Are there gaps in the quality of evidence, monitoring or reporting

2. Where is there inequity across the different protected characteristics and how are different communities impacted across different:

  • STEM disciplines or sector/subsectors
  • types of organisation (e.g. private, public, non-profit)
  • type of STEM activity (e.g. academic research, education, engagement, commercial, funding)
  • job levels and/or qualification.

3. Where are there evidenced inclusive behaviours and policies within different organisations, subsectors, sectors and countries on:

  • Recruitment; and/or
  • Retention

4. Are there policies or activities undertaken by the UK Government, or its agencies, that advance or inhibit equity and inclusive cultures within the STEM workforce?

  • Where could policy change or sector action lead to addressing the equity of opportunity within the UK’s STEM workforce?

5. What are the impacts of COVID-19 on equity for STEM workers (including job and income security, contract type etc) in the short- and medium-term? Which communities, groups, organisations or sectors are being most impacted?

6. What are the implications and opportunities of new policies and employer action in the next 5-10 years following COVID-19 and Brexit? What will the future impacts be for communities, groups, organisations or sectors?

Further guidance

We encourage respondents to consider the experiences of inequity by current or future STEM workers in relation to one or more of protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation.

In addition, we are keen to hear about the impact of other factors including (but not limited to):

  • Socio-economic background
  • Location

Submission guidelines

The deadline for submitting written evidence is 17.00 on Friday 29 January 2021

Please be aware that evidence sessions will be held in January 2021, so evidence submissions are encouraged to be submitted ahead of the deadline.

Further resources

For questions or additional guidance, please contact the APPG Secretariat.

Submit Evidence 

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All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of members of both houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group.