Innovative collaboration to attract returning STEM talent

Press release 29/06/2022 10:56 CET

Skanska UK is taking part in a programme to attract STEM specialists back into work.


The programme aims to return or transfer people experienced in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) back into industry, following a career break. 

The programme will be run by STEM Returners who will source candidates. A pilot scheme will commence shortly focussing on current opportunities for planners, with further roles becoming available later this year. 

The fully paid, 12-week placements act as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment. On completion, successful candidates may be offered full-time roles at Skanska UK. 

““We’re delighted to be participating in this new pilot scheme with STEM Returners,” says Catherine Mooney, Head of Recruitment at Skanska UK.

“We recognise the importance of a diverse approach to recruitment, and this is an imaginative way for us to reach highly experienced candidates who have taken some time out of work, yet who possess a range of relevant skills.”

Annual research by STEM Returners has revealed the challenges faced by people who have had a career break when trying to return, including ‘recruitment bias’. The STEM Returners’ programme aims to eliminate barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement, helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work. 

The scheme also has the benefit of increasing diversity in host organisations. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals who are attempting to return to work is 51% female and 38% from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. This compares to 10% female and 6% BME working in the STEM industry. 

Anouska Carling, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at STEM Returners said: “We're really proud to be entering this new partnership with Skanska, to provide opportunities to highly skilled people who have been overlooked and undervalued.

“Only by partnering with industry leaders like Skanska, will we make important changes to recruitment practices across the STEM sector. In making these changes we hope to help industry realise the value of returners and improve diversity and inclusion.” 


  1. STEM Returners, returns highly qualified and experienced STEM professionals after a career break by working with employers who share the common objective of increasing diversity in STEM and creating a sector where everyone feels valued, supported and included. The STEM Returners project facilitates paid short-term employment placements for professionals returning to work after a career break. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, the STEM Returners project will also provide support for the candidate in advice, career coaching, networking opportunities and mentoring.  All of the candidates going through the programme will also have the opportunity to restart their career in a permanent position at the end of the programme. This project is co-supported by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and the Women’s Engineering Society. stemreturners.com