Women in engineering

Number of women in engineering declining

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New data from EngineeringUK has prompted a call to action as it reveals that the number of women working in engineering and technology has decreased between 2022 and 2023.

The statistics show that the proportion of women in these roles has declined from 16.5% in 2022 to 15.7% in 2023, a contrast with the 56.1% of women that make up the rest of the workforce.

In 2022, 1,034,000 women were working in engineering and technology occupations, compared with 996,000 in 2023.

Out of those working in these sectors in 2023, the majority were between the ages of 16 and 34, suggesting that women are likely to join the workforce straight out of education, but are unlikely to continue.

No other decrease in female professionals has been identified in any other area, where the amount of women has remained largely the same.

The figures show that the drop is concentrated among women aged 35 to 44 and is consistent with data published by the Engineering Council which shows that on average women are leaving the profession at 43 while men leave at 60.

EngineeringUK says it hopes that the data will act as a wake-up call to engineering and technology companies to improve both recruitment processes and retention practices.

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Chief executive Hilary Leevers has encouraged business leaders to reevaluate their own recruitment practices and to study examples of companies that maintain good gender ratios in their employees, such as Equal Engineers, WISE and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“It’s important we drive forward on all fronts – inspiring and recruiting more young people into engineering and technology and then retaining the talent and experience too,” she said.