Employer Champion leads new project to engineer diversity into STEMM workforces

The University of Nottingham is leading an innovative pilot to transform white, male-dominated workforces in engineering and science to ones that comprise top talent from diverse backgrounds. 

The University of Nottingham, one of the Science Council’s Employer Champions, is leading an innovative pilot to transform white, male-dominated workforces in engineering and science to ones that comprise top talent from diverse backgrounds. The UK’s economic future depends on broadening the engineering recruitment net to boost innovation and to tackle a growing national skills shortage across Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) subjects. 

The collaborative project aims to uncover and remove barriers to inclusivity in the recruitment process to change workplace culture and behaviour long-term. The goal is to radically overhaul how staff in STEMM roles are recruited, retained and rewarded at the University and beyond, and for the first time, in every job family – from academic to technical.

There are a lot of discussions on improving diversity, charters and awareness days, but nothing really changes beyond tokenism. It is vital to attract underrepresented groups to STEMM roles, but the process we currently use repeatedly gives us the same outcome – white, male recruits.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Sam Kingman

The two-year project – STEMM Change – secured £524K from the EPSRC Inclusion Matters research call, begins in September and will focus on three areas: researching, innovating and embedding. The project is underpinned by a commitment to providing lasting solutions, challenges to current thinking and practice and new tools to embed diversity in ongoing activities. 

The first work strand uses linguistic analysis to identify and challenge the language of exclusion used in current job adverts and recruitment materials from different institutions. This strand involves several partner organisations: Universities of Warwick, Bradford, Liverpool, Kent, Nottingham Trent, Newcastle and Virginia Tech in the US, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing, the Science Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering; an industrial partner, Kohler Mira Ltd and Diversity by Design. 

For more information contact Kelly Vere, Higher Education Engagement Manager.