Women now make up half of the national workforce and earn more college and graduate degrees than men. However, in the STEM industries a gender gap still exists and is in danger of increasing. Just 15% of Engineering graduates are female, 19% for Computer Studies and 38% for Maths (WISE). A change needs to happen now before the talent pool of female workers grows even smaller.

There is currently a continuous effort to encourage girls to take STEM subjects as they progress through secondary education. However, many organisations are still not seeing this translate into increased applications for their Graduate schemes.

We spoke to our Talent Director, Debbie Edmondson, to see what can be done to encourage more females into traditionally male-dominated Graduate roles.

Reaching out to women

• Talent acquisition to include female-friendly images – showcasing day to day situations.

• Ensure your careers pages include profiles and real-life case studies of female employees. Help them to find out what it’s really like to work in your organisation.

• Engage with emerging talent by finding where they hang-out online. For example, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram- if you can tap in to a suitable site, joining discussion and interacting with female focused groups will widen your reach.

• Raise your profile as an employer by hosting competitions or offering rewards for the best female student of a particular degree subject or for a particular stand-out achievement.


• Engagement should begin from the outset, primarily in schools, following onto colleges and continuing to Universities. It is important to make any events you run female friendly, having positive female role models from the business can highly promote jobs roles.

• There are schemes at Universities which specifically look to increase diverse applications, for example ‘The Sprint Programme’ – check them out and see if you can get involved!

• Companies can offer mentorship and support during University- demonstrating commitment and care prior to the application process. This process gives individuals an insight in to what they can expect of the role post-graduation.

• Gamification may be worth considering, in order to offer potential female employees a chance to gain an understanding of real-life projects. Simulating work in this way or offering young people a chance to learn through employer designed material online, is a great engagement technique.

• Does your organisation run open days or events, offer internships, work experience opportunities, apprenticeships or industrial placements? If not then it might be time to think about implementing this – having an engaged pipeline ahead of your Graduate intake will undoubtedly save you time and money in the long term (as well as increase retention)


By reaching and engaging with the right people, you are making an investment in to your future.

The implementation of a robust recruitment strategy should always result in greater retention rates. By applying any of the above you will be improving your employer brand and giving, not only an excellent candidate experience, but a great onboarding one too.

Ultimately, you want to reach out to the best candidates (whether male or female) and your selection process should be designed to discover who this is. However, it is imperative to let all candidates know the opportunities open to them, and where you do struggle to attract female applications put appropriate measures in place to engage with them.

Download our free eBook ‘Your Diverse Workforce’ and find out what diversity means within the workplace and how a diverse workforce can be beneficial for your organisation. – Boost the talent pool and drive economic growth


Written by Josephine Lester, Marketing Executive