As International Women in Engineering Day 2018 highlights the consistently low numbers of women in engineering, how can we attract and retain the skilled female engineers that are desperately needed to advance the engineering industry?
The UK engineering industry is experiencing an urgent skills shortage. In 2017, 22% of UK manufacturing and engineering businesses listed technical skills shortages as their most critical business challenge. Although the UK Government are increasing financial investment into engineering careers, engineers are already in extremely high demand – 186,000 people with engineering skills are needed per year, every year leading up to 2024.
In the past year, a Google engineer claimed that female engineers were ‘naturally inferior’ to their male colleagues, with hostile work environments and a lack of careers education contributing to decades’ worth of consistently low numbers of women in engineering. Whilst 20% of Google engineers are women, only 9% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female – the lowest in Europe – while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with 30%.
International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness campaign highlighting the exciting and fulfilling career opportunities available to girls and young women in the engineering industry. Under UNESCO patronage, International Women in Engineering Day celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world to raise the profile of women in engineering.
Recent McKinsey report ‘Why Diversity Matters’ reveals that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors and see higher financial returns. Businesses across industries see increased growth and success, make more creative and informed decisions, and attract and retain more customers when their workforces are diverse – meaning getting women into engineering is beneficial for female engineers and for businesses.
Many global organisations across the engineering sector publicly champion women in engineering, including aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing and The Royal Navy. The UK engineering industry is missing out on much-needed engineering talent, and by creating a candidate attraction strategy targeted to female engineers, getting women into engineering will prove a fast and effective solution to the engineering skills shortage.
Showcasing your support proves to technical workers that business leaders care about candidates’ perceptions, positioning your company as a great place to work and attracting candidates to your business rather than a competitor; meaning that increasing the number of female engineers also aids the recruitment of engineers from all backgrounds.
International Women in Engineering Day takes place every year on 23rd June. This years’ theme is ‘Raising the Bar’ – find out more about getting women into engineering.
Here are the Top 5 Female Engineers Who Changed History.