Women continue to be underrepresented in engineering, with latest figures showing 16.5% of those working in engineering are women. While this does reflect an upward trend, many of the women in the industry are in related rather than core engineering roles.
In order to meet the need for the number of engineers in the future, the workforce needs to diversify and attracting more women into engineering would contribute to this. A rapid evidence review, published in June 2023, highlighted way to drive up girls' aspiration and interest in STEM careers from relatable role models to understanding the limitations of gender as a binary concept.
Our Secondary education and engineering briefing shows there are far fewer girls compared to boys taking GCSE subjects such as engineering, computing and design and technology, though girls are more likely than boys to attain the highest grades in STEM subjects. For engineering-related vocational qualifications, men continued to make up the
overwhelming majority of entries (young people aged 16 to 18) and achievements (all ages), as outlined in Further education, apprenticeships and engineering.
In 2022, for the first time, over half of the finalists in The Big Bang Competition and the UK Young Scientist and UK Young Engineer of the Year were both female in 2022. Teenage girls once again took both awards in 2023.
Published in March 2022, this briefing summarises how the gender composition of the engineering workforce has changed since 2010. It shows that while the percentage and number of women in engineering has increased, these strides have been concentrated in certain roles and industries, with women more likely to be in related – rather than core – engineering roles and working in industries outside of what is traditionally deemed to be the ‘engineering sector’.
In engineering, women are in the minority at just 16.5% of the workforce in 2021. In fact, gender disparity is seen throughout all educational pathways into engineering.
Published in February 2023, this report explores how many more girls would need to study mathematics and/or physics at A level to increase the numbers of women studying engineering in higher education to the same level as men. We do this by exploring the conversion rates from A level to engineering and technology degrees for first year undergraduate students by gender, with the aim of estimating the additional numbers needed per year.
Interventions to increase girls' aspirations for engineering and technology careers, a rapid-evidence review published in June 2023, brings together the available evidence on interventions that aim to increase girls’ aspirations for engineering and technology careers.
The report is designed to inform programme design and delivery for STEM engagement practitioners and funders, and to highlight gaps where more evidence is needed. The review is split into 5 main sections including activities for primary school students, programmes designed specifically for girls, role models and mentors, links to higher education and careers and summer camps.
Key learnings highlighted across these main sections include: