The call came from Prospect, the union which represents 50,000 science and engineering professionals across the public and private sectors.
The cost of childcare and inflexible working hours were the main barriers to a return to work according to the interim findings of a new survey run by Prospect, Talent Retention Solution, Women in Manufacturing and the Women’s Engineering Society.
Sue Ferns, Prospect’s head of communications and research, said: “The under-utilised talent pool is made up of women who, through life choices like bringing up children, have left work, but now want to return to their careers.
“Our survey found that those who want to return to work need: training; work experience and refresher courses; support from professional organisations; training on the job; flexible working and sharing and support from colleagues.”
The survey findings will be the focus of a half-day seminar on June 30 at the Royal Aeronautical Society, in London. STEM practitioners will discuss the wider perspectives and Meg Munn MP will chair a panel discussion.
Other speakers include Professor John Perkins, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Fiona Jackson, head of strategic resourcing at EDF Energy. Fiona Woolf CBE, Lord Mayor of London will open the seminar.
“Employers should also consider what trade unions could bring to the table. Our best employers know that good working partnerships with unions bring benefits to both sides and more importantly to individual employees,” concluded Ferns.