What is it about?

Women leave STEM jobs at higher rates than men. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this problem. This study evaluates an online intervention to improve women’s confidence in their soft skills, an important predictor of workplace retention among women. The researchers leverage rare longitudinal data collected from biotechnology employees immediately before and during the pandemic. Early-career women in the intervention (consisting of virtual peer-group meetings and one-on-one coaching) experienced significant gains in their perceived soft skills, while similarly situated women experienced a decline. Soft skill improvements also predicted higher performance ratings for women in the intervention, and were also associated with significant increases in retention for all employees at the company.

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Why is it important?

As large segments of the workforce shift to being predominately hybrid and remote, our results suggest the importance of soft skill development post-pandemic--especially for early-career women in STEM.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Preventing soft skill decay among early-career women in STEM during COVID-19: Evidence from a longitudinal intervention, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2123105119.
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