Gender Equality in Engineering: Is the UK getting left behind?
Engineering: The business of making things possible
The UK has always been ahead with modern advancements, from our roads and railways, to our impressive buildings like the Shard in London. It is therefore hard to believe that the UK is getting left behind in engineering. However, it’s happening.
The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers than any other country in Europe, where only 9% of engineers are women, compared to other countries like Sweden where 26% of engineers are female.
There is also a huge difference in university. In the UK, 15.8% of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are female, compared to India where over 30% of engineering students are women.
India is a country less developed than the UK, so why is India more advanced when it comes to women studying engineering?
Maybe it’s to do with our attitude towards engineering in the UK. Some people think that engineering is “a career for men”, but we’re here to tell you that is not the case.
Here are some things we want you to know:
Fact 1: Engineering is NOT just for boys!
The lack of female engineers in the UK is a real problem, but it is one that is easily fixed. We need to stop thinking of maths and science as “boy” subjects, and encourage everybody to get involved. If maths and science is something you enjoy, go for it! Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s “too hard” or “too complicated” – just do it anyway and watch their faces when you succeed.
Enjoying in maths and science at school is a great way to get into engineering, so you better relearn those times tables. Maybe you’ll even get a chance to work on Robots like Maha Al Ajmi is in the picture above.
Even Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger from Harry Potter agrees with us!
Fact 2: Engineering can take you anywhere
Engineering is a great option for people who want to go and explore different countries. Engineers are needed worldwide, so how great would it be to finish your education and then jet off to a sunny country to work with people from different cultures. You could work on huge iconic projects like the San Francisco Bridge in California. Working abroad is an amazing opportunity which could teach you loads…not to mention you could also get a great tan!
Fact 3: Engineering can also let you stay local
Travelling not your thing? No problem. Engineering has opportunities everywhere, including right on your doorstep. If you don’t want to leave Merseyside, there are plenty of great opportunity’s right here. You could work on impressive buildings down at the docks, help redesign the Royal hospital, or you could even work on the Mersey Tunnel. There’s absolutely loads that you could get involved with as an engineer.
Fact 4: Engineering can pay really, really well
Now, were not one to toot our own horn, but this benefit is kind of important. Engineering can pay very well because it’s a job with a lot of responsibility.
For example, a mechanical engineers starting salary (after university) can range from £20,000-£28,000. Mid-level engineering salaries are often around £35,000-£50,000.
Now, that might be a bit hard to understand, so let’s break it down.
The average salary for people in the UK is £26,500. An engineer could be making this from the age of 22!
When an engineer has experience and is on £35,000, they could buy…
- 49 season tickets for Liverpool FC
- 5,000 Netflix subscriptions
- 500 pairs of trainers
- 2,916 meals at Nandos
So, if you want to live the life of luxury, engineering could be for you.
Why does the UK need more engineers?
There has been a huge growth in population in the UK, which is expected to grow by a further 10 million people within just 25 years. This massive change means the UK needs to supply more buildings, roads, bridges and other technology to cope. We need both girls and boys to get into engineering to help with this demand.
Engineering is massive. Every time a job in engineering is created, two more jobs are created elsewhere in the UK. The UK relies on engineering for this job creation, and to ensure the country can keep up with the demand for engineers.
So, what would life be like without enough engineers?
Things would get very slow, very fast.
Buildings such as hospitals, schools, offices, football stadiums and even technology would take a long time to complete, and may not be built to the standard it needs to be. Engineers make sure things are safe for the public to use, without them, the world would look very different…
Without the careful planning of engineers, structures like bridges and roads would be rushed, and may not support what they need to. This could be very dangerous, leading to buildings and bridges falling down.
You might be thinking “what has this got to do with me?”
Well, it’s very relevant to you and the way you live right now. The need for engineers is great. We physically couldn’t live the way we do without them. You wouldn’t even be able to go on an aeroplane without an aerospace engineer, (and we like our holidays!)
That’s where YOU come in.
We need you to be the engineers of tomorrow. You could be the next generation of amazing engineers who will achieve brilliant things like increasing renewable energy, creating great buildings and inventing impressive transport.
So, how do you do this? It’s pretty simple really. You just keep on working hard in maths and science! You never know, the important lessons you learn in school could one day make you a top global engineer.
For more information on how to get into engineering, take a look at the UCAS website: https://www.ucas.com/. There’s some great information there on what courses you can do after school to kick start your career in engineering, from apprenticeships in Liverpool, to attending university away from home.
The opportunities are endless…
Bakshi S. Blogged down: What makes a good blog? Public Relations Tactics [serial online]. March 2011; 18(3):16. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA.
Engineering UK (2016) Engineering UK 2016; Synopsis, recommendations and calls for action. The state of engineering. [Online]
Engineering UK (2016) UK has lowest numbers in engineering in whole of Europe. [Online]
Available at: http://www.engineeringuk.com/View/?con_id=145[Accessed 14/03/16]
Khomami, N (2015) UK population expected to rise by almost 10 million in 25 years. The Guardian. [Online]
Maguire, K (2014) Where do you rank in the official earnings list? Figures reveal huge pay gap between rich and poor. The Mirror [Online]
Women’s Engineering Society (2016) Useful statistics. [Online]
Available at: http://www.wes.org.uk/statistics[Accessed 14/03/16]