Unleash the Potential of Your Workforce at the WISE Conference 2023 

The recent WISE Conference was a gathering of minds, focused on unlocking the potential of female talent in STEM fields, aimed at fostering greater gender balance within the industry. Businesses are striving more than ever to attract and retain skilled female professionals in STEM, where the demand for talent consistently outstrips supply.  The conference was tailored to meet the needs of STEM professionals seeking insights into effectively recruiting and retaining women in their workforce. 

Exploring the Future of Women in STEM 

Featuring over 10 insightful presentations, panel discussions, and workshops, WISE provided a platform for industry leaders dedicated to advancing the role of women in the UK STEM workforce. 

The event shed light on the underutilised potential of women who have taken career breaks, possessing valuable transferable skills that can greatly benefit the STEM sector with the right support and encouragement. 

Gender Parity: A Business Imperative 

In her impactful keynote address, CEO Kay Hussain underscored the economic imperative of achieving gender parity across STEM sectors. Against the backdrop of a challenging labour market, the UK faces a critical shortage of STEM talent, with significant financial implications for businesses. 

The stark statistics presented by Kay highlighted the urgent need for action, emphasising that the lack of skilled staff costs UK STEM industries billions annually. Moreover, the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields further exacerbates this issue, with only a fraction of women pursuing STEM degrees and careers. 

Kay’s rallying call urged attendees to recognise the interconnectedness of these challenges and emphasised the necessity of diversification and inclusivity in the STEM workforce for sustained performance and innovation. 

Empowering Women Returners 

Jamila Bhaiji, a Project Consultant at Atkins Global, shared her inspiring journey as a returner to the workforce after a career break. Her story exemplified the untapped potential of returners with STEM backgrounds, echoing Nina Lawrence’s call for businesses to create more flexible and welcoming environments for this demographic. 

Debbie Kempton, Group Engineering Director at BAE Systems, highlighted the success of partnering with the STEM Returners programme to enhance diversity within the organisation. By embracing returners, BAE Systems tapped into a valuable stream of talent, supplementing their traditional recruitment efforts. 

For further insights into women returners and other discussions from the conference, refer to the WISE Conference Report 2023.