A European laggard

1 min read

The engineering industry in the UK is predominantly made up of male workers, but how does it stand up to other engineering workforces across Europe?

Well, according to new research from consultant Aira working in association with RS Components, we are European laggards.

Just 8.7% of the UK’s 640,300 strong engineering workforce are women (55,706 women in total), that’s the lowest number of women working in engineering anywhere in Europe. In France, the number of engineers totals 753,500 with 16.8% being women. In Italy of 266,000 engineers 19.5% are women and in Germany with more than 1.2million engineers, 15.4% are women.

Latvia has the highest percentage of female engineers with 30% of its 19,600-strong engineering workforce made up of women – 5880 in total.

The UK already faces a shortage of skilled engineers, estimated by Engineering UK in its 2017 State of Engineering Report at around 20,000 annually.

Nurturing new, home grown engineering talent is essential, and one obvious starting point is to increase the focus on women.

It’s an old story, but engineering employers can do a lot more to encourage women engineers, whether it is getting involved with local education, supporting STEM ambassadors, collaborating with Government and institutional organisations or simply ensuring gender diversity in their own work forces.

A tick boxing exercise? No! Research points to a strong correlation between companies in the top quartile for gender diversity and higher financial returns than the national industry median.