The UK predicts a 36,800 shortfall in qualified engineers by 2050. Lets make this known and encourage women to enter this exciting field.

If I say the word ‘engineer’ to you, what do you think? A man working in a dingy factory fixing some sort of machinery? Wrong. The job title ‘engineer’ could be anything from aerospace to process safety to flood defence the list is endless. We have this confined idea that an engineer is a role only for men, we think of them as clever guys who excelled in physics and look like something from The Big Bang Theory. The world has changed, technology has changed and so should our thinking towards the word ‘engineer’.

It is no surprise to us that men dominate the engineering world with only 6% of the UK engineering workforce being female, the UK has the lowest number of female engineering in the whole of Europe with 9%, Spain 18%, Sweden 26% and Italy 20%. It is becoming a very well-known issue and some people are actually trying to do something about it. On 23rd June it is Women in Engineering Day, this is a day to raise awareness that we need 87,000 new engineers each year over the next decade (according to Engineering UK) to meet the demands. That engineering is second to medics in securing a full time job with 83% of graduates in full time employment after university. Engineering is a very well paid job with the average graduate earnings being £769 per week (Labour Forcer Survey 2012).  The benefits of this job role are huge; we are talking about getting the opportunity to travel, enormous scope to climb the career ladder, having a vast array of interesting projects to work on, I could go on and on.

The thing is, for some silly stereotypical reason women still aren’t getting into this field. Only 16% of engineering graduates and 1 in 7 who study engineering courses are female. Imagine turning up for a job interview being one of or the only woman, you’re going to stand out. This could be seen as a disadvantage but why not use this to your benefit, make sure the employee doesn’t forget you, make sure they remember you, prove that women can do this job just as well as men, break the mould. Lots of universities are getting on-board with this idea and are offering great programmes to new graduates. The Brunel University, London is offering £10,000 Women in Engineering Award for 30 selected female students. The University of Sheffield are also aware of this issue stating, “Women are currently underrepresented in engineering – a fact that leads to a loss of talent and innovation in the discipline. Our Women in Engineering Initiative aims to redress this gender imbalance. Perceptions and stereotypes around the concept of engineering can act as a barrier to women entering the field.”

women in engineering science and technology

The Women in Engineering Society (www.wes.org.uk) is a professional, not-for-profit network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration and support. They have three main objectives; to support women in their potential careers, to educate and encourage the study of engineering and to sustain gender diversity and equality in the workplace. They work in partnerships and campaign to inspire women to become engineers, scientists and leaders of their field. They want to see a world where it is just at likely for a woman to study engineering as it is a man.

A recent survey carried out by Atkins interviewed 300 women engineers and found that 84% are either happy or extremely happy with their career choice. 98% also believe it is a rewarding career for women. 79% said they have a supportive working environment and co-workers. Joanne Jamieson, Project manager, Structural Systems Design at Rolls-Royce was asked “What is the most rewarding part of being an engineer?” Her reply “When members of my team get rewarded for outstanding work, for example winning the Sir Henry Royce Innovation Award.”

Here at Electroutic Ltd we work with engineers on a daily basis and we would love to see more women in this field. Paul Carr, Managing Director said “engineers are faced with problem solving scenarios all the time; women have a great ability to think outside the box and give alternative answers. They seem to offer something very refreshing to the industry”.