Attracting women into engineering

 The UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe, and the Engineering community in the UK, despite numerous campaigning initiatives over the past 30 years, understands that there has been no significant advance in the gender participation of women into engineering.  

New practical guidance by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Prospect, the union for professionals, with many members in the in the science and engineering sectors has been released to help employers in STEM related industries improve diversity. 

The guidance gives managers tips on how to ensure promotions are fairer among workforces of different genders – and on how their organisations can implement effective ‘return to work’ programmes to re-integrate women coming back from career breaks.

The challenge is a tough one, but see the below advice for employers on how to attract women into engineering:

  • Ensure an inclusive recruitment process, with training on inclusive recruitment practises and unconscious bias for all hiring managers.
  • Implement ‘work returner’ programmes for women returning to work after a career break.
  • Offer flexible working and career planning advice.
  • Consider using the apprenticeship levy (where applicable) to introduce ongoing career development for women. Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers; there are number of engineering apprenticeship frameworks that can be used to upskill existing employees and to attract new ones into the industry.
  • Offer development programmes for women to ensure there is a pipeline of talent for leadership roles. Women who work in a male dominated sector can struggle with issues that may not seem apparent, such as feeling they don’t fit in, or not getting the same level of sponsorship that their male colleagues may get and feeling like they are an imposter.
  • Share best practice and learn lessons from sectors that are performing well on this issue; in the Voice of the Workforce survey, 72% of respondents from the Rail sector identified that gender diversity is improving compared with only 41% from the Industrial and manufacturing sector.

Here at Elevation, we are committed to our partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), who are leading the way to increase gender diversity in the engineering world. Its multi-award winning social media campaign to highlight the gender diversity issue in UK engineering #9percentisnotenough gained significant traction.

IET President, Professor Jeremy Watson CBE, said: “The time has come to stop talking about the problem and take definitive action. Not only is the lack of women in engineering compounding the skills shortage in the UK, but it also means UK companies are missing out on the benefits that come from a more diverse and balanced workforce. It’s great to see engineering leaders acknowledging the gravity of the shortage of women in engineering and committing to take industry-wide action to change the status quo.”

As the recruitment partner of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) we are committed to increasing gender diversity in the engineering workplace. We also support ‘Speak Out for Engineering’ aimed at supporting and developing newly qualified Engineers. Find out more information and view our vacancies here:

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