31 Aug Setting the standard: providing an inclusive world of work for women in engineering
Last year, it was reported by Engineering UK that there was an overall expansion of the number of women in engineering. In fact, between 2010 and 2022, there was a 6% increase, with women now making up 16.5% of the total engineering workforce¹.
Noting this improvement, there’s still a long road ahead to achieve a balanced workforce.
What’s causing the imbalance?
Engineering UK investigated into the issue, starting with education. They found that the proportion of female engineering apprentices to male apprentices was only 14.2%. It’s a similar case for female university students too. Only 18.5% of undergraduates in engineering and technology are women². However, research shows that in terms of skillset, women are more likely to perform better than men, achieving higher-class degrees, and sustaining strong progression after graduating.
So why aren’t there more women in engineering? It could be said that more needs to be done in lower education to spark interest for the subject from the start. Perhaps it’s an unconscious bias in the way engineering careers are portrayed, highlighting men as the majority in online and offline media. Or it’s simply that women haven’t been considered in the workplace. A book by Caroline Criado Perez suggests that a women’s differing biology may not be considered in the workplace, from toilet arrangements to building designs and uniform sizing³. If a diverse workforce is created, then a diverse workforce can thrive in it.
We’re very proud that half of our Team Leaders are female, and more than half (56%) of our Machine Operators are female too. Our women-powered workforce is made up of dedicated members of the team, working their way through career advancements. We currently have several members of staff moving up from Machine Operators, to Machine Minders, to Setters.
With over 35% of our staff, between office and factory, being female, we see the importance in creating an inclusive workplace for a diverse workforce to thrive. What’s that famous phrase? “Build it and they will come”.
The Royal Academy of Engineering has lots of diversity and inclusion resources to help with creating and monitoring inclusive team working within engineering.
Could you expand our female workforce even further? Visit our work for us page to see what opportunities are currently available at both advanced and entry-level roles.