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Women in STEM at IPO

In 2018 we reported a mean pay gap of 22%, and median of 29%, in favour of men’s salaries when calculated using Government Equalities Office’s (GEO) methodology.

Whilst our concern isn’t one of gender pay (by grade there’s no more than 4% difference), there is an underrepresentation of women in specialist STEM roles in the IPO. 42% of our people are in specialist STEM roles. Although women make up nearly half of our workforce, the majority of them are in non-specialist roles. Our patent examining roles attract higher salaries due to their specialism, however, only 21% of these are taken up by women.

Although this issue isn’t exclusive to the IPO, we need to address any perceived barriers that are preventing women from pursuing a career in STEM. We are actively seeking to recruit more women into our specialist roles with the support of our STEM ambassadors and our Women’s Network. Work to date has covered:

  • The launch of a STEM based outreach programme in local schools, delivering talks to students, aiming to inspire girls and women to study and build careers in these fields
  • Working with local communities and beyond, speaking at careers fairs and in universities to promote STEM subjects, moving to mixed audiences
  • We hosted the first of a series of STEM based sessions - IPO Girls in Science event
  • March 2018 saw the launch of our Women’s Network with guest women speakers who work in STEM divulging their workplace experiences
  • In September 2018 we commissioned Collaborating with Men study to better understand how to make workplace Culture more inclusive for everyone. Culture issues looking primarily at our behaviours and how we interact with each other. This will help us see if there are any conscious or unconscious barriers to gender equality
  • In Autumn 2018, the IPO launched a structured mentoring scheme. This scheme aims to help junior women in STEM find like-minded, experienced mentors who can support and encourage them.

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