The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM has today (17 July 2023) published its latest report on regional STEM skills inequity. This is the Group's third report investigating inequity in STEM, following inquiries into education and the workforce.

The report used publicly available data to create a picture of STEM skills by constituency across the UK. The British Science Association (BSA), who provides the secretariat for the APPG, commissioned economics research firm, London Economics, to conduct the research and initial analysis.

The research looked at the demographic make-up of constituencies against the provision of STEM skills, as well as the presence of STEM graduates, higher education and further education institutions, and STEM industry.

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Key findings

Comprehensive review of regional STEM skills is currently not possible as data on education, training, and workforce is often missing.

According to the Group, even where the data and definitions exist, they are often not comparable between education stages, settings, sectors, or UK nations. More detailed information is also needed on skills shortages, particularly in relation to low and medium level STEM skills.

The landscape of regional STEM skills is very complex and efforts to reduce existing inequities should be driven by a whole-system strategy.

Current initiatives that focus on inclusion in STEM employment and initiatives designed to drive regional growth are uncoordinated and it is not always clear what impact they have on local communities and economies. 

Distribution of STEM jobs and their impact on local levels of deprivation is highly dependent on the sector.

Areas with older and more established industries such as manufacturing and mining typically have high levels of deprivation and high levels of STEM jobs, while areas which attract new and emerging industries (e.g. biomedical science, data science) have low levels of deprivation and high levels of STEM jobs. 

Constituencies with higher levels of deprivation typically have a lower proportion of STEM graduates.

Analysis of all constituencies in England shows that, on average, the proportion of STEM graduates in a constituency decreases by approximately 5% for a doubling of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for that constituency (increased IMD means increased deprivation).  

The local influence of HEIs on the STEM skills in their constituencies is limited.

Constituencies with HEIs do not tend to have more STEM jobs than their neighbors. Once they have finished their studies, STEM graduates are relatively mobile and relocate to other areas.

There is a strong relationship between deprivation and the take-up of different further education routes.

The most deprived constituencies typically have approximately three times the take-up of STEM further education courses and twice the apprenticeship starts than the least deprived constituencies.


  • Unlocking STEM skills across the UK needs cross-Government oversight to ensure that consideration of regional and other inequities is embedded in policy
  • National networks for skills and inclusion are needed to help regions and STEM sectors share learning and coordinate activities
  • The Government should convene a Data Taskforce for STEM skills
  • There is a need for ongoing research into the factors that impact STEM skills, inclusion, and regional inequity

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