Yesterday’s article from the BBC The Engineering Gap highlights the gender gap as a huge issue in British engineering. Engineering covers all industries, it is a pathway to doing virtually any job you want yet many British girls, even as young as 8, automatically dismiss it as a career path. There are no doubt many reasons for this and all must be addressed for things to change.
Culturally we still encourage gender specific toys with dolls for girls and cars for boys, imprinting this separatist play on children as young as toddlers. The Washington Post championed the makers of Disney Junior series ‘Miles From Tomorrow Land’ for working with Google and Nasa to help steer clear of gender stereotypes in science, particularly in coding, however we are still to see little evidence of this type of change here in the UK. Although parental support is key, schools, colleges and universities need to do more to combat young people falling into a gender-restricted career path. Male dominated classes, courses and work places are still all part of the journey to become a qualified engineer.
(Data supplied by Horsefly Analytics, a JobsTheWord product © 2016).
That said, the buck doesn’t stop there. This graph detailing the location, demographics and salary points of engineers across the UK shows that there are almost 3 male to every 1 female qualified engineers in the UK, yet we are only hiring 1 woman out of every 12 job opportunities. If women were better represented in the profession then that could improve the uptake of women studying engineering, instead, those women that have trained in engineering, simply aren’t being utilised by employers.
The BBC article suggests that a complete rebranding of the role from ‘Engineer’ to ‘Problem Solver’ may attract more women to the career as they are considered to be natural problem solvers, but in the meantime, British employers perhaps need to question why they aren’t hiring the women that have persevered in the industry and are available for hire today.
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