On 20 July 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) published the ‘Equity in the STEM workforce’ report following an eight-month inquiry.

This is the Group’s second inquiry, which launched in November 2020. The British Science Association acts as the Group Secretariat.

Read the full report

The report illustrates five key findings and puts forward three recommendations for the sector and policymakers.


    1. The UK Government and STEM organisations, across the private, public and voluntary sectors should commit to leading a ‘STEM Diversity Decade of Action’ to tackle the historic and systemic underrepresentation of minoritised groups at all levels in the sector.

      1. The Prime Minister and UK Government should set a bold vision for a diverse and equitable STEM sector at the heart of their ambitions for the UK to become a ‘global science superpower’.

      2. STEM leaders from organisations from across the private, public and voluntary sectors should work together to form and co-fund an Employers’ Coalition for STEM Diversity to address the structural inequity in the STEM workforce and drive long-term change.

    2. The UK Government must deliver a statutory workforce data strategy and drive forward changes in policy and legislation to support employers to improve equity for minoritised communities in many sectors of the UK workforce, including STEM.

    3. The UK Government and STEM organisations must quickly look to address and reverse worsening inequity within the STEM workforce as a result of the pandemic.

    The inquiry received over 85 submissions of written evidence from STEM organisations and companies. These submissions were taken alongside roundtable evidence sessions carried out with STEM and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion experts to form the basis of the report.

    Though many reports investigate various elements of the wider workforce and STEM inequity, few take a holistic and intersectional approach in relation to equity and diversity in STEM specifically. Recent work from the STEM sector includes the Royal Society (2021) research into ethnicity and disability in STEM academic communities, WISE (2019) gender and STEM workforce statistics and multiple reports from across the engineering and health sectors.

    The inquiry aimed to build on this existing research, uniting multiple areas to enable a more intersectional conversation about systemic barriers to equity in the STEM workforce, its impact on the STEM skills gap and other societal issues.

    An intersectional view of inequity and diversity provides a more complete picture than one that looks at single characteristics, with potentially significant implications for policy and action. Qualitative data and accounts of ‘lived experience’ also shed light on the real barriers people face.

    Chi Onwurah MP, Chair of the APPG on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, commented:

    “From the development of the vaccine and our heroic NHS, to driverless cars and renewables - it is clear the STEM sector is critical to our future national economy and therefore, key to our recovery from the pandemic.”

    “Having worked as an as an engineer before entering Parliament, I know too well the barriers that minoritised groups in STEM face. Sadly, diversity and inclusion in the STEM workforce was bad before COVID hit and our inquiry's findings show how the pandemic has preyed on this disadvantage and exacerbated it even more. Regrettably, the result is that a generation of STEM workers from diverse communities, in particular, Black people, women, disabled people and those from the LGBTQ+ community, will be lost from the STEM workforce unless the Government takes action.”

    “By taking the three key recommendations in the report we are publishing today, the Government will be supporting this vital sector to repair some of the damage caused by the pandemic and create a more sustainable and equitable footing for future generations.”

    “I want to thank everyone involved in the production of this timely report and to all those who kindly gave us evidence. The APPG looks forward to working with colleagues across Parliament to ensure these findings and recommendations are not lost on the Government.”

    The APPG on D&I in STEM was established in 2018 and aims to promote the inclusion and progression of marginalised people in STEM, and to encourage government, parliamentarians, academics, businesses and other stakeholders to work towards a STEM sector that is representative of the UK population. The Group also want to consider and influence changes in policy that will lead to this outcome.

    For more details visit the APPG website.