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Despite a raft of initiatives, there still aren't enough women entering the engineering profession. Charlie Weatherhogg, HR director of infrastructure firm AECOM, considers what can be done.
Engineers are renowned for their innovation and problem-solving skills. Yet, there is one problem the industry still has not cracked: how can it attract and retain female engineers?
During the First World War, the UK relied on women to take up jobs in engineering and medicine and, 100 years on, the ratio of men and women in medicine is pretty equal.
In engineering, however, women make up just 6% of the workforce.
At infrastructure services firm AECOM, one-third of our graduates are female - which is high for the industry.
However, the low number of women entering the profession continues to be a big problem for HR departments in technical industries, which recruit mainly from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) backgrounds.
AECOM’s recent analysis found a direct correlation between the number of women entering the profession and the low number of female students choosing STEM subjects at A-Level.
Additionally, it found that, while female students’ performance in STEM subjects has outstripped that of their male counterparts at GCSE level in recent years, this has not translated into a proportionate increase in girls choosing to pursue STEM subjects at A-level.
As an industry, we need to do more to make STEM subjects and technical professions more attractive to young women. This requires positive action – not posi