Solution to skills shortages lies in recruiting women
ONLY 27% OF WOMEN WITH SCIENCE, ENGINEERING OR TECHNOLOGY (SET) DEGREES CURRENTLY PURSUE SET CAREERS
June 2008- A new briefing from the ETB reveals that only 27 % of women with Science, Engineering and Technology degrees go into jobs within these fields, compared with 54 % of their male counterparts, and asks what can be done to prevent the current leakage of female talent that threatens the UK’s economic competitiveness.
The Women in SET briefing reveals that young women finish their school education in STEM on a fairly even footing with boys , and – when they do pursue STEM subjects at A Level – achieve slightly higher pass-rates than their male colleagues in physics, maths, computing, ICT, chemistry and biology.
However, the briefing also explains that, regardless of these high levels of achievement, female participation in STEM continues to decrease throughout the academic career and into the workforce, particularly in engineering, with only 3% of all registered engineers being female.
These statistics suggest that, though organisations such as the UKRC for Women in SET and WISE campaign, have made progress in some areas such as female participation in Engineering, Manufacturing and Technology, Government, employers, education providers and the SET community at large, must come together to develop and encourage skilled female engineers and technologists.
Key statistics from the briefing include:
-Women make up only 3 % of registered engineers
-Only 1% of workers within the skilled construction & building trades and skilled metal & electrical trades are women.
-Only 22% of those taking ‘A’ Level Physics are women
-Only 29% of those taking ‘A’ Level Computing/ICT are women
-Only 40% of students taking ‘A’ Level Mathematics are women
-Only 15% of those taking Engineering and Technology in Higher Education are women
-Only 41% of students taking Physical Sciences in Higher Education are women
-Only 38% of those taking Mathematical Sciences in Higher Education are women
-Only 14% of Further Education students in Engineering, Manufacture and Technology (EMT) are women
Dr John Morton, Chief Executive of the ETB, said:
‘In order to increase the nation’s engineering and technology skills base and ensure the UK remains globally competitive, Government, business & industry, educationalists and the science and engineering communities must come together to ensure young women are better informed about the benefits of STEM careers. More targeted and bespoke promotion needs to be provided to ensure girls, particularly in the 11 -14 year old age, are encouraged to continue their education in STEM disciplines.’
Terry Marsh, Director of the WISE Campaign (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction), said:
“WISE welcome this ETB briefing highlighting the under representation of women. This is an important contribution to the disaggregation and analysis of data about women. It will be particularly useful to all businesses and organisations working in fields relevant to women in SET.”
Annette Williams, Director of the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET, said:
“Apart from issues of fairness and social justice, there is also a compelling business case for making sure women are encouraged into STEM careers. Around 97,000 SET graduates will be needed by 2014 to meet predicted skills shortages and there will be an estimated 50,000 new jobs in engineering by 2012. We simply cannot afford to ignore the potential of women and welcome this important ETB briefing in raising the profile of this important issue.”