The gender imbalance in STEM needs to remain high on the government's agenda
Breaking stereotypes The proportion of women in engineering has remained static since 2008: only seven per cent of engineers are female. The lack of women in engineering is a very significant problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy.
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
It also means that women are missing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities. STEM industries must be proactive in encouraging more women into the sectors. There are some good examples of companies who show creative ways of reaching out to women with their job adverts and flexible working patterns, and the results have been very positive. There are excellent young women who need to be convinced by industry that they can have a rewarding career in the STEM sectors.
The IET annual Skills Survey shows that engineering employers often struggle to recruit high quality engineers, so reaching out to the massively under-represented female workforce is a simple way to start addressing this challenge.
The challenge may be great, but with an emphasis on raising awareness, recognising talent and promoting key ambassadors in these fields, it will be possible to dispel this stigma and provide inspiration to females for years to come.
At the IET we will continue to work towards the end goal, and encourage others to play their role. In particular, we will insist that the gender imbalance in engineering remains high on the government’s agenda.