Earlier this month, International Women’s Day celebrated the achievements of women throughout the world whilst drawing attention to the need for greater equality between the genders. The event shone a spotlight on many sectors, including the tech and engineering industries in which we operate, and highlighted the need for the STEM industries to recruit more women to drive innovation and tackle the talent shortage.
In March, Computer Weekly also reported that women are key to closing the cyber security skills gap. The message was reiterated at this month’s CyberUK 2017 event in Liverpool, which announced several initiatives to improve diversity, which raises the question:
How far behind are the UK tech and engineering industries regarding gender equality – and what’s being done about it?
According to the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), a lot of work needs to be done to increase the numbers of women working within STEM industries. Their research has revealed that only 9% of the engineering workforce is female, and only 6% of registered engineers and technicians are women.
In 2010, it was found that nearly 100,000 female STEM grads were unemployed and yet, 54% of engineering employers say a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business.
Studies also show that ‘companies are 15% more likely perform better if they are gender diverse’, and that diversity drives innovation – a much needed requirement for companies in the new industrial age.
The statistics are similar in tech too where the number of women choosing IT as a career has remained low for many years.
With tech and engineering facing a well-publicised talent crisis, it’s time to introduce new measures that encourage women to enter or return to these careers. The recent media coverage and tireless work of many in the industry has pushed progress forward, and the industry is aware of the need to improve early education of tech/science amongst females, as well as helping older students and employees with training and development. Improving the work environment and culture is also on the agenda to introduce more female-friendly workspaces and flexible working.
The team at Provide People are advocates of a diverse and female-friendly workplace. Read the interview with one of our star consultants who talks about what it’s like to be a female working in a traditionally male industry.
Please contact our technical team if you’re a skilled female in the STEM industry looking for an exciting career move, or if you’re a company keen to attract more women for technical roles.