In the UK, women make up just 25% of all people working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations, despite accounting for nearly half the total workforce.
The reasons behind this are varied and complex. But one factor is clear that, simply, fewer women choose to pursue STEM subjects at degree level.
As a global top-10 university with a world-class reputation in STEM subjects, Imperial College London is committed to tackling this lack of gender parity head-on, with a focus on increasing recruitment among women.
To do this, the College knew that nailing their communications strategy would be key, and they were exploring the idea of developing an online platform specifically tailored to the needs of female STEM applicants. But they recognised for this platform to have a real impact on application and conversion - and deliver on investment – it needed to be built on tangible insights.
We harnessed our 150,000-strong youth research panel to find female applicants who were intending to study a STEM subject at university. We painted a clear story of who they were, their attitudes, their motivations and their feelings towards studying STEM at university; as well as any barriers they may perceive.
We also tested the effectiveness of Imperial’s existing communications with respondents and got in-depth feedback about their appetite and vision for a dedicated online platform.
Who would use it? What potential content would they like to see on the platform? What tone would resonate best?
Our research gave Imperial the evidence and validation they needed to develop a fully-fledged online platform dedicated to young women interested in STEM, packed with relevant and authentic content.
The findings have also proved essential to the planning of current and future communication strategies, ensuring they’re anchored to applicants’ needs and expectations, setting Imperial – and the wider STEM sector - on the path to greater equality.