National Women in Engineering Day was set up by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage. 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.
The idea behind National Women in Engineering Day is to encourage all groups to organise their own events in support of the day, and link them together for maximum impact through the use of the NWED.
This year National Women in Engineering Day will take place on June 23rd and throughout the week we will be posting profiles on the women here at DriveWorks as well as some of our friends in the industry.
Why Get Involved?
The Women’s Engineering Society want National Women in Engineering Day to focus on the opportunities for women in engineering to address the engineering skills shortage, and here are some of the reasons why:
Only 9% of the engineering workforce is female. And only 6% of registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, EngTech) are women.
The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%, while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%.
15.8% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female. Compare with India: where over 30% of engineering students are women on engineering courses account for over 30% of the students.
64% of engineering employers say a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business. 32% of companies across sectors currently have difficulties recruiting experienced STEM staff, and 20% find it difficult to recruit entrants to STEM.
Women Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering: 2% in 2006 and 4% in 2014.
Diversity matters: companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.
Diversity is crucial for innovation: in a global survey, 85% corporate diversity and talent leaders agreed that “A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation”.
According to a British Gas survey, almost half (48%) of young women do not even consider careers in STEM sectors, citing a lack of STEM knowledge (30%), a perception that the industries are sexist (13%), and a belief that STEM careers are better suited to the opposite sex (9%).
Only 36% of STEM teachers felt confident in giving engineering careers advice.
The gender gap in Physics, a key requirement for engineering programmes, remains striking: in 2012 it was the second most popular A Level subject for boys in England, but only 17th amongst girls.
In 2015, only 21.5% of A Level physics students are girls (and a slight drop from 23.7% in 2014). The proportions have remained at around 20% over the past 25+ years.
Of those who do take STEM A Levels, proportionally more females achieved A*-B combined grades compared to males in nearly all STEM subjects in 2015 (only in Chemistry do boys seem to do slightly better).
Women and men engineering and technology students express similar levels of intent to work in engineering & technology, but 66.2% of the men and 47.4% of the women graduates in 2011 went on to work in engineering and technology.
In 2010 nearly 100,000 female STEM graduates were unemployed or economically inactive.
How To Get Involved
There are lots of ways that you can get involved in #NWED2016, here are some of the easiest: