BSRIA is celebrating National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) on Thursday 23 June in an attempt to promote the subject to students in schools and universities and encourage more women into engineering. The day is dedicated to raising the profile and celebrating the achievements of female engineers.
Engineering continues to be a male-dominated profession so the NWED is a great time to address the problem. Currently, less than 10% of the engineering sector’s workforce is female and yet 64% of UK engineering companies report that a shortage of engineers is threatening their business.
This untapped potential could help to fill the industry skills shortage apparent in UK engineering, as well as increasing gender diversity and inclusion. Industry experts predict that we need to double the number of UK students studying engineering degrees, but just 15% of our engineering and technology undergraduates are female.
Julia Evans, chief executive of BSRIA, said: “Employers are realising that ‘female friendly’ policies, such as flexible working, go a long way to help attract women. But we also need to change young women’s (and their parents’) mind-sets to realise that engineering offers a wide range of exciting opportunities and career development. Engineers and technicians touch every part of life.
“By encouraging girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enabling us to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector. BSRIA is very supportive of women going into engineering and proud to be employing many female engineers itself.”
President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Naomi Climer has called for quotas to redress the balance but educators and parents also have a role to play. Outreach work with schools and colleges spreads the word, with mentor schemes enabling young women to hear first-hand how great a job in engineering can be.