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Jobs for the girls: engineering jobs

Written by Kimberley Startup | August 12, 2011 | 5 Comments

Woman engineer

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.

5 thoughts on “Jobs for the girls: engineering jobs

  1. Deirdre - Austintec.com on Reply

    Female engineers are less preferable than male engineers. A company will accept more male candidates because an engineer is likely to spend more time on the field rather than doing desk jobs. Unless you are a software engineer or an architect, then that could still be possible of course.

  2. Sean on Reply

    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.

    The same fact that we are aware of the fact that the UK as the lowest number of female engineers is a good start, I am sure that in the near future we will see always more female engineers in the market.

    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.

    This is certainly something that needs to be addresseed.

  3. Alex Bettany on Reply

    “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.”

    Working in the engineering sector, I would agree that it appears more males enter the profession after their degree. However, that is not to say there are no opportunities for women to enter, and I personally would like to see more female graduates entering the sector.

  4. Alice Taylor on Reply

    I work in engineering, and have to agree that it is a male dominated industry. I really enjoy it though, and would recommend it to other women. There are lots of different ways into it, but I agree that women definitely should not dismiss it as only a masculine job.

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