Why Women Should Choose a Career in Engineering

Date: October 7, 2022

Engineers are the lifeblood of many industries internationally. As a result, engineering maintains our modern way of life, and the engineers within it develop and improve our lives in extraordinary ways. The vital role of engineers cannot be understated, but despite their importance to many industries, there are positions left unfilled at many manufacturing companies.

There are many reasons for these employment gaps, but one significant issue is the misconception that engineering is a male profession. Yet, engineering is a profitable career for anyone regardless of the gender you identify as and by becoming one, you are assisting the growth of the UK's vital industries.

female engineer

Relationship Between Engineers and STEM

STEM stands for a collection of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines that are essential for the continued growth of vital industries that we've come to rely upon as a society. People that pursue a career in STEM open themselves up to an ever-increasing number of possible professional positions, including engineering. Additionally, STEM student graduates have little trouble finding work as manufacturing employers highly desire these skilled individuals for the skills they will bring and improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Engineering is a career that connects multiple of these STEM disciplines. Engineers are problem solvers who must apply scientific knowledge and mathematics to design and use various technologies to solve these problems.

Careers for Female Engineers

STEM may sound like a topic too vague to provide a proactive career path. In addition, the variety of options can be off-putting to many who are unsure where STEM will take them. Science, technology and mathematics cover a broad range of positions from chemists, software development and economics, but you'll find engineers covering the broadest range of sectors.

  • Civil engineering, such as construction and water management
  • Electrical engineers assist with power generation and communications
  • Agricultural engineering addresses the environmental impact and develops new equipment
  • Manufacturing engineers work to manufacture components, die casting and investment casting

Lack of Engineers

mixed gender engineering team

There has been a shortage of engineers throughout all industries for many years. This deficiency has been attributed to many different reasons. These reasons have ranged from national economic skills gaps amongst teams, but one significant factor is the remarkable small ratio of female engineers.

Conducted studies have revealed that female engineers make up 16.5% (963,000) of the total number of engineers in the UK. Although, in contrast, this is a significant improvement over the 2010s 10.6% (562,000), it's still a tiny percentage of the whole which consists of 5.6 million professional engineers.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception about the importance of women in engineering, with a mistaken idea that it's not a role they should play. Still, nothing could be further from the truth. The products, services and innovations created by UK engineers are not limited to just one gender, the results of these labours will affect both genders, and both can equally provide for and improve the industry through each individual's valued contributions.

Additionally, Make UK has reported that only an 8% of women who take on engineering apprenticeships continue into a whole career due to the impression that it's not for them. However, it is proven that a career in engineering is profitable, enabling engineers to thrive and grow as they build an impressive collection of highly valued skills. Fortunately, there are many pathways into engineering.

Apprenticeship schemes are an excellent tool that many industries have embraced to find future female engineers who want to begin their careers, a significant number of which are found amongst STEM graduates.

Starting an Engineering Education

engineering students

There are many bursaries, scholarships and apprenticeships available across the UK that support a student starting education in STEM. Many people are introduced to STEM careers through education programs related to these fields. In addition, the increased demand for trained individuals from industrial companies has inspired an increase in opportunities for postgraduate students to explore a STEM career, with some specifically aimed at supporting women.

The UK has earned a positive reputation as the best place to study engineering as part of STEM. For example, Brunel University in London hosts a mentoring program named Women in Engineering and Computing (or WiBEC). This program aims to support female undergraduates and graduates in their goal of entering the STEM world and has benefited over 600 female engineers since the program's inception in 2014. Another example is the Meri Williams Scholarship at the University of Bath. This opportunity will currently cover £9,000 of your course and enable more women to explore their education in STEM

When it comes to starting your education in engineering, finding the right course can be difficult. Not all STEM educators are the same; for example, a university with a high rank for postgraduates in mathematics may not rank as high for engineering or science. Conventional STEM rankings for universities and colleges may present an incomplete image. A recommended path is to assess the individual courses themselves and explore those establishments that specialise in the one area you are interested in.

At Dean Group, we always strive to discover and support individuals who wish to start their careers as engineers. We believe that by increasing the number of female engineers in the industry, we are decreasing the gender gap and ensuring a bright future for the UK industry as a whole. Find out how we can support your plans to be an engineer with our career opportunities or by contacting us directly at our UK-based casting foundry.

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