Women in Engineering, challenges and opportunities

Original post date: October 29, 2021
Adam Dolman

Women in Engineering, challenges and opportunities

The UK’s engineering workforce is currently 91 per cent male; these are concerning statistics. Firstly, they don’t represent the diversity in our country and more worryingly, these statistics could be intimidating to those underrepresented groups of people who have aspirations of becoming an Engineer but have few role models within the field. We need to show young people that engineering is an accessible and exciting career, and we do this by celebrating a diverse workforce. However, in order to do this, we first need to create one.

There is no doubt that engineering is vital to our economy and future success. The Engineering UK report from 2017 revealed that it contributes 26 per cent of the UK’s gross domestic product – more than the retail, financial and insurance sectors combined. The UK’s engineering industry is facing a skills shortage of unprecedented levels, with the need for 1.8 million people trained by 2025.

There is a need to nudge perceptions of engineering in young children, facilitate access to engineering education and engineering jobs for girls, and do more to support the careers of women in the profession. Unfortunately, there is gender pay gaps are evident among those working in engineering occupations, with the average full-time salary higher for women than men in only two of 36 occupational groups. There is much to be done to make the engineering workplace an inclusive and equitable environment and address promotion restrictions in some organisations.

Undoubtedly much of the challenge lies in addressing early stereotyping of the engineering profession in girls even at primary school age. Teenagers tend to believe that “there is a clear disconnect between what many girls believe the engineering profession involves and the things they say are important to them when deciding on a professional career. It has been shown from the Engineering UK report that 46.4% of girls aged 11-14 would consider a career in Engineering, compared to 70.3% of boys and only 25.4% of girls aged 16-18 would consider a career in Engineering, compared to 51.9% of boys.

Here at SW we are eager to represent Women within the Engineering industry, if you are looking for a role and would like support, please do not hesitate to get in contact.