We can’t afford to ignore the numbers

Gordon Allen, Business Director for Scotland
23 June 2017
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You only need to look at the number of women working in engineering and the looming skills gap to know we have a problem

A lot of what we do in engineering involves numbers. Statistics, data, calculations – they all form a big part of problem solving. And you only need to look at the number of women working in engineering and the looming skills gap to know we have a problem.

Women make up less than 10% of the UK’s engineering workforce. That is not enough.

Women make up around half of our overall population, and yet, we have a fraction of that working within the industry – meaning women are sorely under represented. If not having enough women in engineering wasn’t concerning enough, worryingly, the number of women studying engineering and physics has remained largely unchanged over the past five years.

Engineering UK estimates that we need more than 180,000 people with engineering skills entering the industry every year until 2020 just to fill the skills gap. And we simply cannot achieve this without getting more women into the field.

The door is open – to everyone

Last year, The Institute of Engineering and Technology published survey results that showed that 84% of young people have no idea how many different types of engineering jobs there are, and 70% of parents don’t know either. These are not statistics that we can afford to ignore.

We support International Women in Engineering Day every year because we know how important days like today are to reaching young people but, for us, this is a year-round focus for our dedicated teams of STEM ambassadors. Day in, day out, we’re working to bring greater diversity to our teams and make sure our workforce is as varied as the communities we serve.

And a lot of what we do throughout the year focuses on school outreach because we passionately believe that if we start educating people as early as possible, they’ll be more open minded to engineering careers.

Today, I happily found myself outnumbered, as we opened our Scottish HQ to 15 young women from a local school who want to find out more about engineering. By continuing projects and initiatives like these, we’re helping to balance the numbers.




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