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Majority of Women Who Left the Workforce Looking to Return, Seeking STEM Careers

  • Survey finds that two-thirds of the women who said they were pushed out of the labor force during the COVID-19 pandemic want to return to work
  • Four out of five say they would like to pursue a STEM career when they resume work
  • Respondents also sought benefits such as flexibility, career progression opportunities, and upskilling programs

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Most women who left the labor force due to pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic say they plan to seek work again, according to a recent poll. Of these respondents, the vast majority said they would like to pursue a STEM career.

The MetLife survey of 2,000 American workers found that one out of five women surveyed said they had been pushed out of the workforce. Women have been disproportionately more likely to leave their jobs during the pandemic due to child care necessities or other pressures.

Two-thirds of women in the survey who said they’d had to leave the workforce said they want to come back. Four out of five said that when they do, they would like to find a job in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

  • 56 percent of women in the overall survey said they are considering a career change, more than twice the share in a survey issued earlier in the summer
  • The survey highlights a need for STEM employers to ramp up their recruitment efforts for women, with one-third saying they don’t know where to start in pursuing such a career and one-quarter saying they had been actively discouraged from doing so
  • A majority of women said they were looking for greater flexibility and career progression opportunities, including options like upskilling programs, tailored benefits, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

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