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In Science and Technology, Efforts to Lure Women Back


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Numerous return-to-work programs are emerging in the science, engineering, and technology sectors, as many employers expect a talent shortage due to the high quit-rates among experienced women. Honeywell, General Electric, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the British government have all launched re-entry programs to help women scientists, engineers, and technology professionals obtain the skills they need to restart their careers. Some of the programs provide training, coaching, networking, and referrals, while others provide jobs with low return-to-work barriers through special training and mentoring. More than 40 percent of highly qualified scientists, engineers, and technicians in lower-level jobs are female, but more than half quit in the middle of their careers, the Center for Work-Life Policy reports. Women in science, engineering, and technology often face isolation, extreme job pressures, long hours, and become discouraged after about 10 years, which is when family pressures also increase. However, after several years at home, many women want to return to work. In a partnership with the Society for Women Engineers, Honeywell recently launched a hiring program that includes extensive training and mentoring for engineers who have been out of the workforce. BBN Technologies has increased efforts to attract at-home professionals, including luncheons for ex-employees, and IBM offers an extended-leave program to enable women to return to work. General Electric has launched an international program called Restart that offers flexible hours and other incentives to attract female technology professionals back to work.
Wall Street Journal

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