New data shows small but worrying spike in women aged 35 to 44 leaving engineering

May 30, 2024

female engineer in her late 30s checking data from device

Data on the engineering and technology workforce that we analyse annually has revealed the proportion of women working in engineering and technology roles has declined in the past year from 16.5% to 15.7% and is concentrated among women aged 35 to 44.

In contrast, 56.1% of women make up the rest of the UK workforce.

EngineeringUK Chief Executive Hilary Leevers, commented, “We are taking this small but significant decline very seriously. Behind the percentages, are professional women with real lives and careers.  The sector as a whole needs to better understand why women are leaving and work harder to improve their retention, including creating opportunities for those who have left the profession to return. The various government skills taskforces must also ensure retention is core to the strategies they are working on.”

Analysis of the wider UK workforce does not show a similar drop or pattern of women leaving other professions.

The data revealed in 2023 there were more women entering engineering and technology occupations in the 16 to 34 age groups which indicates more women are entering the workforce straight from education and training, but that retention further into a profession is an issue.

It is hoped the data will serve as a wake-up call to engineering and technology companies to improve recruitment and retention practice and approach organisations like WISE, WES , Equal Engineers and the Royal Academy of Engineering who can all support women and businesses with inclusion and equity in the profession.

Read the report



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