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22 June 2015

Encouragement at both school and home for girls to pursue careers in engineering is needed to address the gender balance in the profession, according to the views of engineers published in new research from Hays Engineering and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The main reason cited by 74% of engineers as leading to the low number of female engineers is that the profession is still seen a ‘boys’ job’. This perception is perpetuated by a lack of encouragement at school and home, with almost two thirds (63%) of engineers saying that engineering is not encouraged as a career option at school, while 60% say it is not encouraged by family.

Over 2,800 mechanical engineers were surveyed for the new report ‘Diversifying the talent pipeline’, which revealed differing views between the genders as to what would help encourage more women into engineering. Some 43% of women said more flexible working patterns would be beneficial, compared to just 28% of men. Almost a third (32%) of women said that a focus from senior management on increasing numbers for female engineers was needed, compared to under 20% of men.

Mike Morgan, Director at Hays Engineering said: “Our results show that change can only come if we engage with girls about engineering from a much younger age, and continue to do so throughout the education process. The fact that over two thirds of people think engineering is not being pitched as a viable career option for women is a major factor behind its low take-up.

“Despite the fact that 92% of engineers said they would promote engineering as a career choice to younger female friends and family, within the wider public there is still too little overall understanding around what opportunities are out there and the different pathways that an engineering career can offer.

“Although promising steps are being made and more women are entering the profession, it essential that the industry does more to improve both the public image of engineering and the culture within industry to attract more talented individuals, regardless of gender or background, to the industry.”

Dr Helen Meese, Head of Engineering in Society at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The UK is facing an engineering skills shortage, and it is vital that we get more women entering the engineering profession. We cannot afford to rule out 50% of the population, just because the profession is seen as a ‘boys’ club’. At the same time, engineering is a fulfilling and creative career. Why shouldn’t girls have the same opportunities as boys?

“We need to consider radical ideas including scrapping early specialisation, which is channelling young people down arts or science-dominated routes at a very early age and encourage more active learning in order to reconnect students to the process of making and creating things.”


About the survey
Over 2,800 engineers from around the world were surveyed for the report, ‘Diversifying the talent pipeline’, from Affiliate Members to Fellows of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2014 the Group employed 8,748 staff operating from 244 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2014:

– the Group reported net fees of £724.9 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £140.3 million;
– the Group placed around 57,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 212,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 42% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 34% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

About the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions.Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 111,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.


For further press information please contact:
Kathryn Iacono
T. 020 7200 3760