Recent research from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job site, reveals that an overwhelming 71.8% of female engineers don’t believe that young women are being made aware of the abundant career opportunities available in the sector. Ultimately this has a damaging effect on the pipeline of female talent.
The research was conducted amongst over 500 female engineers, with the aim of better understanding how women in the sector feel about their careers and the opportunities available to others who may be looking to break into the industry.
It’s no secret that there’s a real lack of women undertaking careers in STEM; and this coupled with the fact that the number of women studying towards a university degree in the field has remained virtually static is undoubtedly alarming for the industry, and the UK economy as a whole. The fact that more has to be done to attract new female talent into the field is undeniable; however, with traditional gender stereotypes and discrimination to overcome, employers certainly have a way to go.
"56.5% of the women surveyed believe young women are deterred from entering the industry because engineering is still viewed as a 'male profession'."
Latest figures suggest that the UK will need over one million new technicians and engineers in the next five years, so it’s paramount that employers are taking steps to encourage both men and women into the industry. There’s an abundance of opportunities available, however, many still believe that engineering is a ‘man’s job’ and that women simply can’t measure up.
Worryingly, it appears that over half of the women we surveyed (56.5%) believe that young females are deterred from entering the industry due to the fact that many still view engineering as a ‘male profession’, and with this opinion appearing to be particularly prolific amongst those aged between 25-34 (the figure jumps to 59.4%), the future generation of female engineers could be facing a real challenge.
As Trimble MEP explains, the UK building and construction sector, is currently suffering from a national skills shortage and encouraging more women to join the industry has been identified as key in diffusing what is otherwise a ticking time-bomb. However, take up and retention rates for Further Education engineering courses remain in decline as do the number of girls taking STEM subjects at exam level.