Call for action as women fail 
to become engineers

EMPLOYERS have been urged to take urgent action to improve workplace diversity after a new study showed the proportion of female engineers has remained at just six per cent over the past few years.

A survey of 400 firms revealed there has been no significant improvement in the number of women engineers since 2008, prompting concerns the sector is remaining male dominated.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said its research showed that despite the poor record, more than two out of five employers were not taking any specific action to tackle the issue.

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The report also revealed that many employers were struggling to recruit suitably qualified engineering staff, which they believed threatened their business.

The chief executive of IET, Nigel Fine, said: “Demand for engineers in the UK remains high. Research suggests we need to find 87,000 new engineers each year for the next decade, so now is the time to act.

“Promoting engineering to women is particularly important given how few currently work as engineers, so it’s disappointing to see that so many employers are taking no real action to improve diversity.

“They need to take urgent steps to improve recruitment and retention of women, for example by promoting flexible and part-time working, together with planned routes of progression that can accommodate career breaks.

“There also needs to be deeper engagement between employers and the education system to produce a talent pipeline that can sustain a thriving UK economy.”

The Women’s Engineering Society has shown that issues remain with recruiting a new generation of women engineers. In 2012 nearly four out of five pupils who took A-level physics were male.