Research highlights alarmingly low number of women in engineering workforce

Women in engineering
Bid to encourage more women to work in the oil and gas sector

Women account for less than 10% of the engineering workforce in the UK, research has shown.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found 16 was the critical age at which females were lost to a potential career in the sector.

In a bid to move the number of women joining the industry from 7%, representatives from the oil and gas sector have been invited to attend a key discussion on it.

Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment will chair the event which will look at creating more opportunities for women.

She said: “There is no such things as ‘a girl’s job’ or ‘a boy’s job’ and any perception that such unhealthy boundaries still exist need to be changed, whether they’re held by employers or young people exploring their career options.

“There are considerable opportunities for young women in Scotland’s energy sector, with the country remaining at the forefront of global renewables and a key producer of oil and gas.

“We have already provided funding for CareerWise Scotland to promote STEM subjects, including engineering, in Scottish schools but more needs to be done to break down the barriers.

“Our commitment to implement the recommendations of the Young Workforce Commission – who made just this point – and our initial response to address inequality in the uptake of education and training indicates our serious intent to take action and I look forward to responding further to the report in the coming weeks.

“The IPPR research states that the key to getting more women into engineering is to make it an attractive option for girls from an early age, and with more women in work than ever before, we must continue to ensure that they get the right job opportunities to allow them to contribute fully to Scotland’s economic growth.

“I have extended an invite to the oil and gas sector to next week’s women in the economy roundtable in Edinburgh.

“I feel our energy leaders could make a significant contribution to work to address ongoing gender barriers and look forward to hearing their views.”

As previously reported on Energy Voice last year, Princess Anne backed a campaign to get more females into the oil and gas industry.

The Princess Royal joined hundreds of businesswomen at a specially-organised Offshore Europe lunch, where she heard about fresh attempts to boost their numbers both on and offshore.

The UK has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe – a statistic which the sector is working to improve.