Working in engineering is a versatile, creative and exciting career.
It encompasses a huge range of skills, subjects and sectors. It contributes around a quarter of the UK’s annual GDP. It is home to large, thriving businesses and employers.
Yet…, only 11% of the UK engineering workforce is female, and the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
Ahead of International Women in Engineering Day on June 23rd, here are some brief insights into how we can work together to improve this.
Businesses are looking at how to attract more female engineers. But what small steps can businesses take to encourage improvement.
1. Job Advertising
Candidates don’t just accept a job based on a job title, a skills match, or even a salary package. They buy into a business’s purpose, vision, and culture – its ‘why’, as Simon Sinek would say.
Don’t load your job advert with clichés – many of which can be unconsciously biased in nature, as well as being meaningless in general through overuse.
Sell the big picture – how employees are appreciated, what they will be part of, what motivates the company and its staff, and how their career will benefit going forward. You’ll attract better quality candidates – female and male.
2. Online Image
Is your website loaded with dated and stereotypical corporate images? – maybe burly men – welding stuff!
Present an image of inclusivity, the vision for how you want your workforce to look going forward.
Feature testimonials. Include male and female staff explaining why they joined, what they like about your business, and what you’ve done to help support and progress their career.
Don’t forget, an interview is a two-way selling process.
Think about your interview panel and the image it paints of management at your company.
Consider including an extra person, if necessary, with which the candidates will identify.
4. Review Flexible Working Opportunities
Flexible working, where possible, encourages loyalty and places greater trust on employees by giving them the freedom to work when it best suits them, whenever possible.
Work-life balance can be an issue for those struggling to juggle full-time work and personal commitments. Managers should review the situation, periodically, to see if there are more efficient methods of working to suit these employees.
5. Inspire the Next Generation
There is little gender difference in the take-up of STEM subjects at GCSE, but the gap opens from there. Women made up 15.1% of UK engineering undergraduates last year, compared with over 30% in India.
Consider liaising with schools and universities, promoting your business and its male and female engineers in the process.
* Figures in this article are sourced from the January 2018 Women’s Engineering Society Statistics report.