Jobs for the girls: engineering jobs
Did you know the UK has the lowest number of female engineers in the whole of Europe? And, according to the science, engineering and technology industries (SET), companies would like to increase the number of women they recruit into engineering jobs.
SET found that there is a gender skills gap in the sector, as three quarters of female science and technology graduates do not pursue engineering jobs, while half of male graduates do. As such, industry experts say this failure to bring women into the sector is holding back the progress of manufacturers.
Whether it’s image, pressure or inappropriate advice, women do not often consider engineering as an interesting and well paid career. Yet, great opportunities face today’s female engineers because of rapidly changing technologies. You could be in the forefront of rapid progress, or even care for people and the environment in which we live.
Even better, the average starting salary for a graduate engineer is £24,643 – significantly higher than salaries for graduates in many other fields.
But, as a woman, how do you get started in an industry that is so dominated by men?
The first thing to think about is what you like to do and why you like it. Are you fascinated by things that fly? Do you want to protect the environment? Maybe you like taking things apart or you think ‘I could do that better or faster’?
There are several ways to explore female engineering careers. Job shadowing is a great way to learn about careers that you think you might like. Volunteer work can also provide great opportunities, as can summer jobs and internships.
Specifically however, there are many sites, dedicated to women aspiring to develop a career in engineering: www.engineeringgirl.org and www.engineeringjobs.co.uk/women-in-engineering.php are to name but a few. www.mentornet.com in particular, helps women succeed by matching them with mentors who can guide them along the path to a successful engineering career.
Another useful aid is the WISE campaign (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction). Working with industry and education establishments, they inspire females and attract them into science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies and careers.
To put it simply: engineering is the application of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems, something women do every day without a second thought – such as fitting all your clothes and shoes into a tiny suitcase. And as such, there is nothing to justify the discrepancy between the numbers of men in this profession compared to the number of women.
So ladies, what are you waiting for? Start discovering the vast potential of jobs available to you today in what are currently male-dominated fields.
Have you made you mark within a male-dominated industry? If so, share your experiences below.