16.5% of the engineering workforce is women is the headline from the new report just issued by EngineeringUK[1].  This is compared to 10.5% in 2010, an increase from 562,000 in 2010 to 936,000 in 2021, women working in engineering roles. In electronics, the percentage has increased from 2.8% to 15.2%.

WES, WISE, Daphnet and EquateScotland are just some of the organisations dedicated to promoting Women in Engineering, but there are many more.

Engineering Institutions, including the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) with their 9% is not enough campaign, and Engineering Companies have made Inclusion and Diversity a priority.

It is, therefore, great to see everyone’s hard work making such a positive impact.

However, 16.5% is not enough and when the overall figures are revealed, the story is not so positive.

In Electronics since 2010, for example, there are 2,453 more females, but 15,335 less men, an overall loss of 12,883 engineers, in a time where everything is dependent on electronics.

At senior management levels, the increase in women has only been 3.8%, despite the campaigns to get more women at board level.

Engineering companies are setting targets, but including their entire workforce, not just engineering, so more women doesn’t equate to more women in engineering.

Why does it matter? There is an estimated average shortfall of 48,000 engineers a year, ignoring 51% of the population is no longer an option. Our customers are diversity, so our workforce should be diverse. The engineering sector is vital to the UK economy contributing 27.1% to the total UK Gross Domestic Product [2] with only 18.2% of the workforce. The latest McKinsey report [3] states that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to have financial returns above the median, so it makes business sense.

In conclusion, we need to continue to work hard to get to true gender diversity then everyone will benefit.

[1] EngineeringUK Women in Engineering Trends in women in the engineering workforce between 2010 and 2021, Extended Analysis, March 2022

[2] EngineeringUK The Contribution of Engineering to the UK Economy – the multiplier impacts

[3] McKinsey & Company Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters May 2020