Whether it is the view that men are more suited to construction and engineering roles or women are better at admin, gender stereotypes have persisted in sectors across the world.
These generalisations have limited the amount of opportunities for women and dissuaded them from entering a wide selection of sectors, but it looks like attitudes are starting to change.
There are a number of factors that will assist a shift change in the number of women engineers including available courses and training offered by colleges and universities, funding and training support such as grants, bursaries and scholarships and also a real focus on this within the industry from employers and recruiters.
Just a few decades ago it was rare to see women pursuing a career in engineering which is perhaps why many organisations now offer grants or scholarships to women pursuing a career in this field.
The Women’s Engineering Society is a charity and a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development. Last year they published the Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering List to coincide with Women in Engineering Day which takes place on 23 June annually.
Compiled by the Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society, the list features the UK’s top influential female engineers chosen from almost 900 nominations. The Women in engineering Day focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles for girls as well as celebrating the achievements of outstanding women engineers.
Having more female engineer role models will also help to influence girls in the UK who may not see engineering as an opportunity. Seeing more and more examples of successful women earning well, getting to travel and make a difference in their roles is will no doubt inspire others to consider this career path.
Companies investing in resources to increase the number of female specialists will also may a difference.
Morson a recruitment business that operates in the engineering sector, have launched a new campaign to persuade more women to enter engineering and have committed to doubling their number of female contractors.
The recruiter has over 1,800 female contractors working in a variety of roles all over the world, but it is now hoping to increase this number by working with the likes of Salford University and the Girls’ Network, which inspires and empowers young people from disadvantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of female role models.
Ann Swain CEO of APSCo commented:
“The professional recruitment sector has a responsibility to advise clients on tapping into diverse pipelines, not least the obvious benefits associated with widening the depth and breadth of available pools.”
“Getting more women into engineering shouldn’t be a box ticking exercise – there is a clear business case for developing and retaining more women, particularly when demand for talent in this area is booming. According to the latest Professional Trends Report by APSCo in conjunction with Staffing Industry Analysts, permanent placements in engineering increased 7% year-on-year to May 2017, while contract placements jumped 21% during the same period.”
“We recently relaunched the Women in Recruitment initiative to empower females working in the sector. By supporting professional recruitment to get its own house in order in relation to positive women aware practices and policies – we will be in a better position to advise clients on related best practice.”
There is rising demand for engineering skills to ensure the UK can successfully deliver large scale projects such as Hinkley Point C, HS2, Crossrail 2 and the extension of London City Airport.
It is estimated that, to hire enough people for this pipeline of projects, the country must double the number of young people coming into the industry.
Contractors in particular may be able to benefit from these new job openings and large scare projects, though it is key their finances are properly managed. Specialist accountants can give independent professionals assistance with budgeting, forecasting and other responsibilities they need to maximise their business potential. They can also help contractors manage their IR35 status, which can have a significant impact on their earnings.