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Home > News > Company News > Engineering leaders call for a.....

Engineering leaders call for action over lack of women in sector

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2017-06-26
Leaders of the UK’s top engineering businesses are calling for urgent action on tackling the sector’s shortage of women at an event to mark today’s International Women in Engineering day.

Women account for just 9% of the UK’s engineering workforce, yet, according to the IET, 63% of UK engineering employers have no gender diversity initiatives in place.

Senior representatives of businesses including Boeing, GE, Jaguar Land Rover, Network Rail, Ofcom, Rolls-Royce and Thales UK are among those to pledge to tackle the issue a the IET’s #9percentisnotenough conference in Birmingham today.

They want companies across engineering to take action to improve the 9% figure through a range of initiatives, such as:

a formal gender diversity programme to measure and report on female recruitment and retention
a new approach to advertising jobs in order to attract more women
‘work returner’ programmes
mentoring and sponsorship programmes
career planning and flexible working
affinity groups and networking opportunities for women
promote apprenticeship and work experience programmes to girls

awards and initiatives to celebrate female engineering role models (such as the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards)
Dawn Elson, group engineering director at Merlin Entertainments, said: “The entire engineering industry in the UK has been wrestling with this diversity challenge for decades and the progress has been an increase from 7% to 9% in the past 20 years

“We need to seriously address this challenge now, so this event is hugely important to: help us champion female engineering role models; better translate engineering careers to girls and the families who influence their career choice; and to understand how to enable qualified female engineers who have left the profession to return to it.”

IET president Jeremy Watson said: “The time has come to stop talking about the problem and take definitive action.

“Not only is the lack of women in engineering compounding the skills shortage in the UK, but it also means UK companies are missing out on the benefits that come from a more diverse and balanced workforce.

“It’s great to see engineering leaders acknowledging the gravity of the shortage of women in engineering and committing to take industry-wide action to change the status quo.”

Sharon White, CEO at Ofcom, said: “We want talented women to find rewarding careers in engineering and technology. A diverse, inclusive workforce can bring new skills and perspectives, unlock economic and creative potential, and help the UK remain a world leader in technology, engineering and innovation.”

The full list of senior engineering people involved in today’s call for action is:
Peter Flint, CEO Building+ Places EMIA, AECOM
Sir Michael Arthur, president, Boeing Europe and Managing Director, Boeing UK and Ireland
Mark Elborne, CEO & president, GE UK & Ireland
Elizabeth Hill, chief product engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
Norman Bone, chairman and managing director, Leonardo MW Ltd
Dawn Elson, group engineering director, Merlin Entertainments
James Harris, managing director UK and Europe, Mott MacDonald
Steve Hollingshead, CEO, J. Murphy and Sons Ltd
Mark Carne, CEO, Network Rail
Nadia Savage, director for high speed rail, Laing O’Rourke
Sharon White, CEO, Ofcom
Ian Ritchey, group chief engineer, Rolls-Royce
Paul Gosling, VP engineering, Thales UK
Marguerite Ulrich, chief human resources officer, Veolia UK and Ireland