Mentoring program survey

We want to find out how widespread mentoring programs for women in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) are, and to learn more about how effective programs are organised, and the barriers to creating long-lasting and successful mentoring programs.

Please complete this survey if you have, within the last five years, been involved in planning, organising or running a mentoring program for women, regardless of whether the plans came to fruition or whether the program was seen as a success. We especially want to hear from you if you have tried to create a mentoring program but were ultimately unable to get it off the ground.

We’d like to hear about mentoring programs that were or are intended to serve women, ie with very few men participating. These women can be in any role that requires STEM expertise, regardless of industry, for example, investment banks employ a lot of programmers, so could run mentoring schemes for women in tech roles that would qualify for this survey.

If you have run more than one mentoring scheme, please complete this form once for each program.

The survey is anonymous, but if you’d like to be emailed with the results you can share your email address with us at the end, or you can email Suw and ask to be sent the results when we have them.

If you’d like to hear about the results from this survey without giving us your email address, follow us on Twitter @findingada, or Facebook @adalovelaceday or subscribe to our newsletter.

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Apply for our new mentoring scheme

We are offering a year’s free access to our Finding Ada Network mentoring program to women in STEM. We will provide you with access to our mentoring platform, where we will match you with a mentoring partner, as well as our online content covering careers, professional development, soft skills and more. We’ll also support you with webinars about topics like goal setting, being a good mentoring partner and how to create good habits.

We will give priority to women from who are from a low-income background or are the first in your immediate family to study or work in STEM, and who are in the UK, but thanks to some generous donations we are opening up this scheme to all women in STEM.

We are particularly keen to hear from mentors who can help undergraduates, graduates and PhD students to understand their career options, whether that’s in academia or industry, and to take their next steps. We have students in chemistry, biology, physics, neuroscience, maths, astrophysics, engineering and computer science/programming who are looking for mentors. So if you’d like to improve your leadership skills and give back to the community, please apply to become a mentors now.

You can expect the mentoring program to take up around 1 to 2 hours a month for mentors, and 2 to 3 hours a month for mentees, although obviously in both cases you get out what you put in, so you may choose to devote more time to your mentoring partnership.

To apply, please complete the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. And don’t forget, the more money we raise in our GoFundMe, the more women we can help!

Applications are now closed.

Introducing our new Four Week Intensive Mentoring Program

Today we launch our new Four Week Intensive Mentoring Program for women in STEM, which is based on the successful mentoring work we’ve been doing with the Finding Ada Network over the last year.

This transformational mentoring engagement will help mentees tackle one issue or work towards one key goal over the course of the month. It will also introduce mentors to the mentoring process and help them hone their leadership and communications skills.

And it’s a very convenient and easy way to introduce mentoring into an organisation. Once participants are recruited, we do all the rest.

We provide support to mentors and mentees throughout the program, with advice on how to get the best out of a mentoring experience, how to think about and set goals, and clear guidance on how to use our mentoring tools. Mentors and mentees will need to dedicate about six hours to the program over the month.

The launch price of the Four Week Intensive Mentoring Program is £995 for 20 participants (10 mentors and 10 mentees). To find out more or make a booking, email Suw Charman-Anderson.

Four ways your company can benefit from mentoring

Two women talkingMentoring is a valuable addition to any woman’s professional life, but how do mentoring schemes benefit businesses? We take a look at four ways mentoring can be used to address common business challenges.

1. Tackling the gender pay gap

One of the key factors underpinning the gender pay gap, in which a company pays men more than women, is a lack of women in senior roles. ‘Vertical occupational segregation’, where men are disproportionately promoted into the most senior and well-paid roles and women are clustered in more junior and less well paid roles, is a problem across all sectors. The obvious solution is to promote more women, so for companies where there is not a deep pool of candidates for leadership roles, mentoring is essential.

Creating a leadership development scheme where women are mentored specifically to develop their leadership potential is one way to tackle the problem. But simply being a mentor improves women’s leadership skills, providing them with the opportunity to learn how to give better feedback, help others develop their skills and careers, and improve their communication skills.

Data from a Gartner study of Sun Microsystems’ mentoring scheme shows that mentors enjoy a 6 times higher promotion rate than non-mentors (whilst mentees enjoy a 5 times higher rate), so if you need to promote more women, ensure that you’re giving all your female staff the opportunity to be a mentor.

2. Improving staff retention

According to Acas, it costs £30,000 to replace a member of staff, with the majority of that cost down to the “loss of productivity caused by the time it takes – 28 weeks on average – for a new recruit to get up to speed.” Losing a member of staff doesn’t just cost money, it also means a loss of valuable institutional knowledge, some of which may never be recreated by their replacement or colleagues. Staff retention should be at the top of every HR manager’s priorities.

A 2019 survey of 8,000 full- and part-time workers by CNBC and SurveyMonkey reported that, “Happy, more productive workers are valuable to any company for the simple fact they tend to stay longer. More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months, compared with just 25% of those who do have a mentor.”

The cost of replacing one member of staff could cover the cost of mentoring for 125 women on the Finding Ada Network for a year, so the cost-benefit analysis of mentoring points clearly at it being great value for money.

3. Recruiting more women

The Institution of Engineering and Technology found last year that 53 percent of businesses “are concerned that a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business”. And a report from the Confederation of British Industry and Tata Consultancy Services found that demand for digital skills “outstrips supply, with over two thirds of businesses reporting unfilled digital skills vacancies”.

On top of these skills shortages is an even greater shortage of women. Only 22 percent of the UK STEM workforce are women, which makes it difficult for STEM businesses to attract enough female job applicants, especially for technical roles.

A sponsored mentoring scheme, where a company sponsors women from the community to be mentored by their female employees is not just an opportunity to give back to the #WomeninSTEM community, it’s also a way to find and develop new talent. Women who perhaps might not have considered your company as a place they want to work may do so after having a positive mentoring experience with one of your female staff.

4. Supporting ‘intrapreneurs’

The Women in Tech report found that although 80 percent of women in science, engineering and technology say that they love their work, 56 percent leave in mid-career, some 10 to 20 years in. More than twice as many women quit high tech than men – 41 percent compared to 17 percent.

“Evidence suggests that women face difficulties in accessing core, innovative technical roles,” the report says, with only 2.1 percent of all US IT patents going to individual women or all-women teams. In short, businesses are missing out on great ideas because they aren’t paying attention to women.

A mentoring scheme focused on growing women’s intrapreneurial skills, teaching them how to identify and develop innovative ideas, not only gives women the opportunity to develop their creativity, it also ensures that valuable ideas aren’t lost to the company. Helping women to realise their creative ambitions also helps increase job satisfaction, retention and promotion.

We have decades of evidence to show how mentoring benefits women, whether they are mentors or mentees. But mentoring schemes also benefit the companies that invest in them, creating a culture of learning and development that encourages creativity, innovation and growth, all of which are essential to business success.

The Finding Ada Network provides online mentoring services to STEM businesses in the UK and New Zealand. Find out more or get in touch.