A new report has hailed Scotland as the worst-performing country in the UK for women embarking on engineering careers, Energy Voice reports.
The report’s author, trade body Engineering UK, explained how females account for just 12% of all engineers in Britain. This is despite the fact that girls typically perform better in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
In Scotland, a mere 3% of those starting engineering apprenticeships are female, compared to 11% in Northern Ireland, 9% in Wales and 8% in England.
The findings reveal that females make up approximately one in three graduates in chemical, energy and process engineering – a higher percentage than in other areas including aerospace, electronic and civil engineering.
The reports explains how there is ‘compelling evidence’ proving that issues surrounding gender norms and stereotypes are impacting girls’ career choices.
Just 60% of girls aged between 11 and said they would consider a career in engineering, rising to 72% among boys. Meanwhile, only one quarter of girls aged 16 to 19 said they would consider a job as an engineer.
CEO of Engineering UK, Mark Titterington commented: “The gender imbalance in engineering means we are missing out on great talent which, given the shortfalls that our latest research highlights, it can afford to do.
“Equally, women are also generally missing out on really exciting and impactful careers in engineering and contributing solution to some of society's biggest challenges.”
Titterington continued by acknowledging that things need to change – in order to do that, he said that “girls, at the earlier stage, [must be shown] what modern engineering is all about and how they can follow what they love through these kinds of careers.”
The trade body believes many girls are less aware of the different types of engineering career paths, which also means they are less likely to seek advice on these types of roles. It also said that serious works needs to be done in order to inspire girls in STEM subjects, explaining how both parents and teachers play an important role in this.
“We know that participating in hands-on activities and speaking to an engineer have a positive impact on young people’s knowledge of engineering jobs and that is particularly true for girls,” Titterington said.
“We want to build on that with sustained outreach and engagement activity, together with supporting communications campaigns such as This is Engineering, to inspire the next generation of girls to become engineers.”
In your opinion, what do you think needs to be done to help inspire girls to consider a career in engineering?