Online graduate careers fairs will be run weekly throughout April 2020 by recruitment agency STEM Women to help women gain future careers information during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Aimed at people who identify as female, although also open to others, the STEM Women virtual fairs want to make the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sector more accessible to students and graduates hoping to start a career in a STEM-related role.
Sophie Chadwick, events manager at STEM Women, said: “It’s important for us to continue providing ways for women studying STEM subjects and working in STEM industries to access support, career opportunities and be part of a wider inspiring community. Employers are still keen to meet top talent, and women are still keen to understand what a career in STEM can offer them.”
Beginning on 1 April, and running each Wednesday for the rest of the month, the STEM Women careers fairs will allow graduates who apply through its website to connect with businesses online to participate in networking sessions, online interviews, webinars and remote assessments.
While the volume of women in core STEM roles in the UK is at around 24%, the number of women in core technology roles is low, staying at around 16% for the past 10 years.
Many organisations are trying to do more to encourage women to pursue technology or STEM roles, as well as to study STEM subjects at school which could later lead to a STEM-based career.
But while measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus are in place, some students graduating or attending university may not have access to events such as jobs fairs, with many cancelled or postponed, but STEM Women has found some employers still want to interview candidates for possible upcoming vacancies.
For the STEM Women online careers fairs, participating employers including EY, Bloomberg and Alacrity Foundation will arrange virtual meetings with students and graduates using their preferred video conferencing platform.
Students or graduates can apply for the pre-screening process on the STEM Women website, and will be selected for meetings with employers based on the hiring needs of those firms.
A recent survey from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) found student employers aren’t sure what the coronavirus shutdown means for hiring students, and the ISE stated there are other uncertainties, for example universities are working to find “alternative examination processes” this year.
While there is uncertainty surrounding end-of-year exams due to the coronavirus outbreak, STEM Women said some companies are conducting their own online assessments of candidates to ensure they are right for the role.
Chadwick said of the virtual jobs fairs: “This will be our first event taking place online, which is exciting. We are able to run these events once per week on a Wednesday afternoon, meaning more networking can take place than ever before. These events can serve women working in a wide variety of locations too, as they don’t have to travel to our venues. We are creating these events in collaboration with employers, students and women working in STEM, to create a unique service that works for everyone.”
Students can apply to join the events on the STEM Women website.