he latest research by R&D tax credit specialists, RIFT Research and Development, has found that the UK sits in the bottom half of the table for the number of women working in R&D when compared to the rest of the European Union.

In the recent budget, the Government announced further boosts to its R&D efforts, including,an increase in investment in science, innovation and technology to £22 billion per year by 2024-25.

An additional £100 million in Defence R&D helping to develop capabilities in response to threats facing the UK, including funding for cutting-edge technology in aviation and space propulsion and an increase in Research & Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) from 12% to 13% from 1 April 2020, supporting businesses investing in R&D and helping to drive innovation in the economy.

As well as the prevention of R&D relief abuse for small and medium-sized enterprises.
At the same time, the Government has focused on increasing equality within the workplace with a gender equality roadmap, although this has been suspended for the time being due to the spread of the Coronavirus.

RIFT’s research shows that where the proportion of females in work is concerned, the R&D sector has some way to go to reach a level of equality, accounting for just 35.5% of the UK’s R&D workforce. While this could certainly be worst, it places the UK 17th in the rankings when compared to the 27 EU nations.

Which nation’s are leading the charge?

Latvia is not only home to the highest proportion of women working in R&D, but at 55%, they’ve managed to tip the scale in the opposite direction to the majority of other nations; as have Croatia (50.8%) and Lithuania (50.4%).

Bulgaria, Estonia, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus and Spain aren’t far behind, with 40-48% of their R&D workforce being women.

Luxembourg (26.3%) and the Netherlands (27.4%) are home to the lowest proportion of women within R&D.

Director of RIFT Research and Development Ltd, Sarah Collins, commented:

“At RIFT, we’re proud to be leading the charge when it comes to women in R&D and we have some great people working from the very top all the way through the business to the ground level.

Of course, gender shouldn’t even be part of the conversation when it comes to employment, but unfortunately, it still is. While the UK isn’t the worst when it comes to women working in R&D, there’s certainly room for improvement and we would do well to follow the example of Latvia, Croatia and Lithuania.”


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