In the UK Engineering industry, we are failing to attract young women to STEM jobs.
In the UK engineering industry, only 12.37% of all engineers are women in the UK. The issue is highlighted between the ages of 11-18. 46.4% of girls 11-14 would consider a career in engineering, as opposed to 25.4% of girls 16-18. This points to a drastic change during a key stage in a young person’s education.
With so many young women being put off engineering, you may see it as a preference or indeed an aptitude issue, but this is not the case. Young women report higher grades in STEM subjects than their male peers, but even from primary school, female interest in engineering begins to wane.
An article by Jessica Green, talks about the fact that Spanish engineers have a relatively even split amongst the genders, which may puzzle people who believe in it being mainly an issue of preference.
This leads us onto a root cause of the lack of women in STEM, and onto a possible solution.
Encouragement, and societal bias is possible the largest influence on young women. Engineering remains to be a male dominated industry, and because of this is missing out – big-time.
We often talk about skills shortages in engineering, whilst ignoring possibly one of the most obvious solutions. We are alienating a vast group of the next engineers, who hold untold potential. The Female group that is statistically more adept than their male counterparts.
With the above statistics pointing to the early learning stage of young women, the time to act isn’t when choosing a degree or apprenticeship, the time to act is at the earliest possible opportunity. This will hopefully rid the industry of this harmful gender bias.
Our Managing Director commented, ‘Yesterday was International Women’s Day, but for an issue as important as Gender Equality, we think its important to highlight our commitment.’
‘Young women entering STEM careers is a great opportunity for the future of our industry, and something UTS is fully supporting.’