Research to question UK's 'shocking' lack of women engineers

Figures showing that the proportion of women working in engineering in some European countries is almost three times greater than in the UK have prompted a year-long investigation into the reasons for the disparity

A recent review by cross-professional body Engineering UK found that across most of Europe the percentage of engineering professionals who are women is twice that in the UK.

Statistics from the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology revealed figures of 18 per cent for Spain, 26 per cent for Sweden and 20 per cent in Italy, compared with only 9 per cent for the UK workforce.

Describing the difference as "simply not good enough", Engineering UK chief executive Paul Jackson announced plans for further research into the reasons behind it.

Speaking to teachers and careers advisers at a conference in London, he said that a continuing lack of female recruits is a major barrier to tackling skills shortages, along with poor take-up and retention rates for further education engineering courses and a fall in the number of 18-year-olds.

"The fact that the proportion of female engineering professionals in the UK is the lowest in Europe is shocking, said Jackson.

"It's essential we get behind these figures and understand why. What is it that our European neighbours are doing differently? What can we learn from them?"

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