Women continue to be underrepresented in engineering, with latest figures showing 15.7% 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. 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.

Women in engineering

Published in May 2024, this updated 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 overall, 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’. Indeed since the previous report was published in 2022 the number of women in engineering and technology roles has decreased by 0.8%

Read more and download the report

From A levels to engineering. Exploring the gender gap in higher education

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.

Infographic depicting WOMEN IN HIGHER EDUCATION First year undergraduates in engineering and technology - 18% women First year undergraduates in all subjects - 57% women  A LEVELS BREAKDOWN First year undergraduates who have studied A level in maths and physics: Maths and physics - 22% women Maths and/or physics - 40% women Maths only - 50% women Physics only - 31% women

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Download the A Levels to Engineering report

Rapid evidence review

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:

  • Start engaging girls with engineering and technology activities at a young age
  • Include activities that challenge gender stereotypes around engineering and technology
  • Learn about the needs, interests, and preferences of girls when designing outreach programmes
  • Understand the limitations of gender as a binary concept
  • The use of role models that are a similar age can help bridge the developmental gap between students and professionals
  • Showcase a range of engineering and technology careers

Download the review