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In STEM discrimination is still a problem

The original text of this article has been published on New Scientist.

A HAPPY workplace is a productive workplace, or so the saying goes. But this year’s New Scientist Jobs STEM Industry Survey in association with science recruiter specialist SRG reveals that, in terms of discrimination and harassment, there is still a long way to go in guaranteeing employee happiness and security. The survey raises several key themes of concern to the STEM workforce, and suggests how employers can best tackle these problems to make workplaces as inclusive as possible.

Almost 2400 people working in a range of STEM industry sectors from the UK, the rest of Europe and North America took part in this year’s survey. In the UK, almost a quarter said they had experienced discrimination or harassment of some description in their line of work, a similar proportion to the previous year. In Europe and the US, the figure increased to 30 per cent. Workers from all STEM industry sectors were affected, although reports of discrimination and harassment were highest in academia at 40 per cent. The lowest number, 16 per cent, was in the biotechnology sector.

Women reported more discrimination than men in all regions. That is concerning, especially in Europe and the US, where more men answered the survey – 61 per cent of respondents in Europe were men and 38 per cent were women, while in the US it was 59 per cent versus 38 per cent respectively. The weighting was more balanced in the UK, with a split of 47 per cent men and 52 per cent women.

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