Are current school leavers ruling out a career as a scientist because of their gender? Are parents talking to their children about what they aspire to be when they are older, and who their role models are? The UK has a deficit of female scientists, and new research was needed to understand how the next generation could be inspired to take their first steps in a career in science. MHP Communications commissioned research on behalf of revered make-up experts L'Oréal, to encourage inspirational female role models into the classroom as part of their Inspiring the Future programme.


Using YouGov’s Field and Tab service, MHP partnered with L’Oréal to survey 1,000 parents and 700 children aged 16-18. The research discovered that an average of 62% of 17-18 year olds are not studying science. Of these, more than a third (37%) say it’s because they don’t think science would lead to a career they want to do. Despite this, when it comes to choosing a career at a later stage, girls are more likely than boys to listen to advice from others, particularly parents (20% vs 16%) and people working in the career they want to do (13% vs 10%). The data collected from both parents and children was used in combination to develop a clear picture of how science is presented to, and received by, the next generation of young professionals.


The findings from the research were announced on the 10th anniversary of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards, as they unveiled a new partnership with the charity Education and Employers which runs the Inspiring the Future programme. The campaign will encourage female role models visiting local schools and chatting to primary aged school children to help inspire the next generation of scientists.

About the client

L’Oréal UK and Ireland was founded by a researcher, and since it’s creation it has been pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. Its unique Research arm enables it to continually explore new territories and invent the products of the future, while drawing inspiration from beauty rituals the world over.

MHP is an integrated global communications agency delivering strategic and creative campaigns. MHP have worked with L’Oréal UK and Ireland since the beginning of 2016 to help drive its corporate brand reputation in the UK as a successful, responsible and forward-looking business.