Diversity is crucial in the workplace. When a team approaches challenges from the perspective of different people, innovation is bound to happen. That is why it’s essential to bring women and minorities into various fields. Their contribution can prove pivotal to bringing cutting-edge solutions and technology.
The problem is, there are still many fields where women and minorities are under-represented. For example, women in engineering statistics show that the industry still has a long way to go to reduce the persistent gender gap. This article will talk about the latest statistics to gauge how far engineering has come and how far it needs to go in improving workplace gender diversity.
Eye-Opening Women in Science and Engineering Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Only 12% of the UK’s engineering pool are women.
- Only 2% of all professional engineers are women of colour.
- Women hold 9% of the top career grade positions in engineering.
- There has been an increase in female managers in science and engineering in the last five years.
- 60% of female STEM students say that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their future career prospects.
British Women in Science and Engineering
1. Only 12% of the UK’s engineering pool are women.
The UK founded the world’s first women’s engineering society in 1919. Despite the society’s existence for over a century, only a small number of women make up the engineering workforce. Based on statistics on women in engineering, female engineers account for only 12% of the industry’s labour force.
2. The percentage of female engineers in the UK is lower than in countries that are behind in gender equality policies.
Looking at the percentage of female engineers by country, one can conclude that the UK is falling behind in narrowing the gender gap in engineering. Records show that close to 50% of engineers in Muslim countries are women. This figure exceeds the UK’s employment rate for women in engineering. Many believe that this discrepancy is rooted in a lack of government support.
Gender Gap in STEM Education
3. 94% of UK female students think engineering is a suitable career for any gender.
A closer inspection of the gender disparity among UK engineers paints an exciting picture of students’ perception of the field. It’s no longer an issue of whether women are capable of performing the tasks of an engineer.
The latest women in STEM statistics show that 94% of female students believe that engineering is a suitable career. The problem stems from how students generally view a career in engineering. There is a decreasing trend in the percentage of students who think engineering is a desirable career in the UK — regardless of gender.
4. The COVID-19 pandemic is widening the gap in career aspirations for engineering between young men and women.
A survey among British adolescents shows that only 24% of girls aspire to become female engineers in the UK. The same study shows 44% of young males dream of becoming engineers. This substantial gap will only grow more expansive with the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 29% of female students say the pandemic is making them consider working in healthcare instead. As unemployment rates rise in various industries due to the pandemic, students have the perception that jobs in healthcare are more stable.
5. The number of girls in engineering courses in the UK has almost doubled in the last decade.
Universities in the UK still receive four times more engineering applications from men than women. However, despite this uneven proportion, there’s still cause for celebration. At the turn of the decade, applications from women for engineering courses increased by 93.5%, nearly doubling the number 10 years ago.
6. In 2019, only 26% of core STEM graduates were women.
The gender gap in STEM remains a widespread problem in the UK. Although there has been an increase in women graduating from STEM courses, the percentage only fluctuates between 25% and 26%. This is because there’s also a rapid increase in the number of men graduating from STEM courses.
7. Women make up only 23.5% of UK engineering graduates.
According to the latest figures for women in engineering in the UK, there is an immense gap between male and female graduates, which affects graduate employment statistics in the UK. Globally, women make up only 28% of all engineering graduates. This is already low, but the figure is much lower in the UK, where women account for only 23.5% of engineering graduates.
8. Women in civil engineering statistics show that only 20.8% of undergraduates are women.
The numbers for women in civil engineering are just as bleak as other fields in STEM. Recent reports from the Institute of Civil Engineers show that women only account for 20.8% of the nation’s civil engineering undergraduates.
Women in STEM Occupations
9. There are 1,019,400 women in the UK STEM workforce.
For four consecutive years, there has been an increasing number of women holding positions in the STEM industry. The latest count shows that the number has finally surpassed the one million mark to reach 1,019,400, accounting for 24% of the STEM workforce.
10. By 2030, women are projected to account for 29% of STEM occupations in the UK.
A study on women in the workplace statistics estimates a significant growth in women’s involvement in STEM occupations by 2030. Researchers are confident that women will account for 29% of STEM jobs in the UK at the turn of the decade. This estimation comes from the extrapolation of 10 years’ worth of data — from 2009 to 2019.
11. Female engineers earn 11% less than their male counterparts.
When it comes to the salary of female engineers, statistics in 2020 show that they earn 11% less than their male counterparts on average. That is because it’s rare for women to hold senior and, therefore, high-paying roles. It looks like the field of science and engineering is not immune to the rampant gender pay gap.
12. Women are much more likely than men to drop off the professional engineer register by the age of 45.
(Royal Academy of Engineering)
According to women in engineering statistics, female engineers are more likely to quit the profession than men. As much as 57% of women drop off the roster of professional engineers by the time they reach age 45, as opposed to only 17% of men. That leads researchers to believe that there is a prevalent workplace issue driving female engineers away. Additionally, with the lack of engineers, it makes business sense for employers to address this concern.
13. Only 9.3% of Institution of Mechanical Engineers members are women.
(Institution of Mechanical Engineers)
When it comes to women in mechanical engineering, statistics show sluggish growth in women entering the field. This is more evident when looking at the number of female members, associates, and fellows in the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. The organisation reports that women account for only 9.3% of their total numbers. Despite this, it is an improvement from five years ago when only 7% of their members were women.
14. Women hold 9% of the top career grade positions in engineering.
(Royal Academy of Engineering)
Under-representation has been identified as the most significant factor in the gender pay gap in engineering. Women in science and engineering statistics show that women only hold 9% of the top career grade positions in engineering. Further figures reveal that women hold only 8% of the upper pay quartile positions in the industry.
15. Female managers in science and engineering have increased in number in the last five years.
The number of management roles filled by women has been increasing in recent years. In just five years, the number of women in science and engineering managerial roles has increased by approximately 10,000. This marks a 1% increase from 2009.
Global Statistics of Women in Engineering
16. Only 2% of all professional engineers are women of colour.
(Society of Women Engineers)
It is common knowledge that women are under-represented in the field of engineering. It reflects in women in engineering statistics that researchers publish year-in and year-out. One report states that only 20% of students with a bachelor’s degree in engineering are women. The same report shows that the figures for women of colour in engineering are even more disappointing. They account for only 2% of all professional engineers.
17. In the US, only 27% of STEM employees are female.
(United States Census Bureau)
Although women make up almost half of America’s entire workforce, they are still largely under-represented in the STEM field. Looking at the latest women in science and engineering statistics in the US, it’s clear that they have made some headway in narrowing the gender gap — from 8% of STEM employees being female in 1970 to 27% in 2019. However, STEM still remains to be a male-dominated industry, comprising 73% of STEM employees in the US.
18. Women account for only 13% of STEM occupations in Australia.
(Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources)
In Australia, there is very little progress in addressing the gender gap in STEM-qualified jobs. From the 2009 figure, there has only been a 2% increase in the percentage of female engineers in 2020. During this period, the highest percentage was recorded at 14% in 2019.
19. 40.9% of engineers and scientists in the European Union are female.
When it comes to closing the gender gap in science and engineering, women in Europe are making one of the biggest progress globally. The percentage of female scientists and engineers in Europe has increased from 32.4% in 2009 to 40.9% in 2019.
Women in Engineering Statistics —
The disparity in the number of male and female engineers in the UK persists until today. Even though most female adolescents believe they can excel in this male-dominated field, universities still get a few applications from female students. It appears that most women aren’t motivated to pursue a career in science and engineering. Many believe it’s because of the lack of female role models to look up to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Despite the efforts of many universities to get women more interested in engineering, there are only a few who actually pursue the field. It is apparent in the statistics showing that only 12% of professional engineers in the UK are women.
This leads researchers to believe that women are unmotivated to study and become licensed engineers, presumably due to the lack of role models and the gender pay gap.
Although research shows that women are likely to outperform men in STEM courses, only a few women end up pursuing a career in engineering. Women only hold one in five jobs in the whole engineering industry.
This is a significant disparity between genders in the field. Additionally, experts believe that bringing more women into engineering roles could be the answer to the country’s ongoing shortage of STEM professionals.
The latest records show an increase in the number of female students taking up engineering courses in the UK. Over a decade, the number has almost doubled. Universities record an astounding 93.51% increase from 10 years ago. Today, an estimated 29,200 female students are taking up engineering courses across the country, and universities remain optimistic that this number will continue to increase.
There is a growing demand for STEM professionals in the UK — regardless of gender. According to projections made by researchers, the UK will need about 1.8 million trained engineers by 2025, and bringing in women can help fill this massive need. That is why in the last few years, organisations have been exerting so much effort into convincing women to pursue a career in engineering.
According to the latest reports from UNESCO, northwestern African countries have the highest percentage of female engineers. Specifically, Algeria has the highest proportion of women in engineering. Women account for 48.5% of all professional engineers in the country. In contrast, developed countries like the US and Canada have percentages that hover around 19% to 28%.
In 1876, Elizabeth Bragg became the first woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Specifically, she earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
However, she never had the opportunity to practice her profession, as she became a housewife and a mother. Before Elizabeth Bragg, women performing an engineer’s job only had academic training in mathematics or science. This is because universities offering engineering courses didn’t admit female students back then.
Company statistics show that, on average, female engineers earn 11% less than their male counterparts. A lot of people believe this to be the result of the gender pay gap, but others believe it’s an issue of under-representation. Only a few women are in senior management positions and high-paying roles, which results in a lower average income among female engineers.
Based on the latest records, the percentage of women working in STEM-qualified jobs in the UK grew to 24%. That translates to over 1,019,400 female professionals in the field.
Women in engineering statistics might be reporting increases. Still, researchers unanimously think that the growth isn’t enough, especially considering that the UK will need around 1.8 million STEM professionals by 2025.
- Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources
- E&T Magazine
- E&T Magazine
- Engineering UK
- Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- PWE Magazine
- Royal Academy of Engineering
- Royal Academy of Engineering
- Society of Women Engineers
- STEM Women
- The Engineer
- The Guardian
- The Guardian
- United States Census Bureau