SLR Consulting to help environmental professionals return to work

08 November 2022 3 min. read
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As the UK looks to rely on its innovation and technology sector to boost the post-Brexit economy, addressing talent gaps in the sector will be crucial. Professional services firm SLR Consulting has formed a new partnership with STEM Returners to help environmental professionals return from a career break.

Britain faces a number of challenges in the coming years which it is depending on its research and science segments to help handle. From basing its economy more around technological advancement, to helping businesses and public entities address their emissions goals – the STEM community is a key cog in the UK’s future success.

But there is a major problem with that. The UK is currently in the grips of a major shortage of STEM skills. In 2021, an IET report revealed the extent of this, suggesting that the STEM sector had a shortfall of 173,000 workers. In simple terms, the slow rate of new, suitably skilled workers joining the industry means there is not talent added to the pool year-on-year to significantly address this shortfall.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners

As such, helping professionals return to the STEM industry after a career break is crucial to helping fill important STEM vacancies in the immediate future. To that end, global environmental and advisory firm SLR Consulting has launched a STEM Returners programme, offering roles including acoustics and vibration consultant roles, and jobs for geologists.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said, “We are very proud to be entering this new partnership with SLR to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. There is a shortage of skills across STEM industries, and we know that people who have had a career break are faced with an uphill task of getting back into the profession. Only by partnering with industry leaders like SLR, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”

To help boost this inclusivity, STEM Returners held an annual survey to find what STEM professionals most value. Around 66% of STEM professionals on a career break said they were finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult, with 46% of participants saying they felt bias because of a lack of recent experience. SLR’s programme hopes to address that, by including hybrid and flexible working patterns, helping returners manage commitments they dropped out of the workforce fore – such as young families – while candidates can choose to work from various SLR locations including Bristol, Nottingham, Exeter and Leeds, local to their team and home.

David Moorey, Head of People Team, Europe, at SLR, added, “At SLR we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce in support of our ‘One Team’ culture. As our business continues to grow, our partnership with STEM Returners means we can help our growing client base solve more of their environmental challenges, whilst giving opportunities to people within our communities who are looking to get back to work after a career break. We’re passionate about the work we do and in making a difference to the world around us - supporting this project is a part of our commitment to positive change.”

SLR Consulting is part of the SLR Group; a sustainability consultancy with around 2,000 employees worldwide, in more than 20 countries. The firm has been rapidly upscaling its capacity via acquisitions, in recent months, having received new backing from US-listed financial investor Ares Capital Management.