Engineering Industry Must Address Apprenticeship Gender Imbalance

If the engineering industry is to solve the growing gap in female apprentices in the sector then it must significantly alter its thinking, says consultancy giant Aecom.

In the run up to ‘National Women in Engineering Day’, Aecom has warned that urgent action must be taken to address the ever increasing gap between the number of female and male apprentices, with the gender imbalance in the industry looking like it will persist for at least one further generation.

Despite several government led initiatives contributing to an increase in the number of female candidates at graduate level, there is still a growing gap that is worsening among engineering apprentices.

The latest data published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills states that fewer than 8% of apprentices in the manufacturing and engineering technologies sectors are female, with that number declining further over the last four years.

In the built environment, planning and construction, women represent fewer than 2% of the overall number of apprentices, and this number has also gone down since 2012.

Aecom believes that the best way to close the apprenticeship gender gap is to encourage creative and lateral thinking within the industry in its recruitment approach.

Aecom’s director of strategic planning & advisory, Kate Morris, said that there must be positive, urgent action in order to put right the years of unintentional gender bias in the sector.

She believes that the increasing apprenticeship level gender imbalance has to be addressed sooner rather than later in order to stop the industry from sleepwalking into diversity difficulties in the future.

Ms Morris added that the industry as a whole must solve the problem of a lack of interest and awareness of engineering from emerging female talent.

Rather than sitting back and hoping they find their way into the industry, she insists that the sector must showcase itself to young people, particularly young women.


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BDC 316 : May 2024