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More females needed in STEM jobs, research shows

News | Royal academy | Skilled workers | Key figures

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More females are required in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) led sectors, a new study has indicated.

Research from the Royal Academy of Engineering indicates that the country will require more than a million skilled workers in STEM-based roles by 2020, meaning the existing number of annual engineering graduates and apprentices must rise dramatically.

In order to address this gap, a number of key figures have called for the marketing of the roles to change in order to attract the right individuals. Professor Dame Ann Dowling, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Sir James Dyson are among those who want the roles to be positioned differently.

These calls come ahead of the second annual National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) tomorrow (June 23rd 2015).

Commenting on the situation, Ann Pickering, O2’s HR director, said: “National Women in Engineering Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the progress we’re making in bringing more women into a sector which has been male-dominated for far too long. We believe it’s crucial for a workforce to reflect its customer base - a diverse team is more productive and more innovative than one where everyone has the same views.

Ms Pickering went on to say that the company’s Network division has seen how well mixed teams work together, challenging each other to think differently and, ultimately, perform better than all-male teams.”

How will National Women in Engineering Day help?

With National Women in Engineering Day, the industry is making a concerted effort to increase the appeal of the sector for females.

It is doing this with a number of initiatives, encouraging companies to organise events that support the idea of more females in engineering and include the NWED logo on all of their communications.

Through the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) there are a number of recommendations for companies looking to raise the profile of females working in the sector. These include organising a lecture or networking event, planning an industrial event or opening doors to local schoolchildren and parents. 

Companies could also launch a Women’s Network, where females can work together to discuss what it is like working in the sector and emphasise their value. 

Employers can also register female engineers to speak at schools via WES, Inspiring The Future or through STEM Ambassadors. This can help your firm to develop a long term relationship that could lead to more female workers in the years to come. 

To battle sexist trends in the industry, managers can carry out equal pay audits and speak to all females to identify if there are any barriers restricting their progression, while female role models should be sought after in order to help motivate females to aim for new objectives in their career. 

By adopting some of these initiatives, companies can promote sexual equality and make their business more welcoming for females. At a time when the engineering sector is looking for high-quality staff, women could have a key role to play in the industry’s growth in coming years.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 26th June 2015

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