After more than 18 months of experiencing impacts on their careers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many women are now planning a return to the workforce, according to a new MetLife survey. Although nearly half of women (48%) said the pandemic has negatively impacted their careers, almost two in three (63%) who left the workforce during this period say they are ready to return. Eight in 10 of those are considering careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), reflecting a shift in the paradigm from the “Great Resignation” to the “Great Reevaluation.”
Employer Opportunities and Responsibilities
Employer-offered benefits and programs play a critical role in ensuring that women succeed and feel supported, particularly related to the retention of women in STEM fields.
The survey shows women interested in STEM identify several factors that would encourage them to pursue a career in those fields:
- More diversity, equity, and inclusion in the leadership pipeline (38%).
- Benefits that better fit their needs (33%).
- More flexibility in work arrangements (31%).
- Dedicated trainings that help their career progression (30%).
- Paid internships or apprenticeships (29%).
- Employee resource groups (28%).
“We need to ensure that women are inspired and empowered to grow their career by addressing what companies can do to support women at this pivotal moment,” said Susan Podlogar, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at MetLife. “With so many women considering a STEM career and one in three saying they don’t know where to start, employers have both a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help them forge a path forward.”