The UK is trailing the rest of Europe when it comes to attracting women into the sector and, speaking ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), our Engineering Director - Simon Howison says the low proportion of women taking up a career is a real concern that our Company within the UK needs to urgently address.
“Only 8.7 per cent of professional engineers are women, meaning the UK has the lowest proportion in Europe,” he said. “Yet if you look at the actual activity, there is no reason why one gender would do better than another.
“My concern is that, because in the UK it is largely seen as a male activity, there are huge numbers of girls who could have had successful careers as engineers who never give it a thought.”
His worries over a lack of women in the sector comes as recent estimates from the Sector Skills Councils says the UK needs to produce 2.2 million skilled engineers over the next decade to help meet a wide range of global challenges.
Adds Mr Howison: “We should not forget that the engineering and manufacturing sectors are vital to rebalancing the economy and putting the UK on a more stable and sustainable footing.”
Despite the problem in attracting interest in the profession, Mr Howison says: “Our engineers are among the finest in the world and they continue to open up new possibilities and change millions of lives for the better.”
In the UK business, 9% of our apprentice hires in 2012 were female; this compares to a national average of approximately 5%. 15% of our 2012 graduate engineering intake was female, this compares to a national average of 8 -15% depending on engineering discipline.
To date we have increased women’s participation in our global high potential programmes. In 2012, we exceeded our target of 20%.