Engineering is an industry still dominated by men, however, things like career satisfaction and rewarding salaries are encouraging women to successfully break into the sector. Barriers to entry for women are numerable, but according to a survey by the Royal Academy of Engineering, more than 80% of female engineers say they are either happy or extremely happy with their career choice, and 98% find their job rewarding.
Yet, despite good prospects only 13% of engineering graduates are female which only makes up 1 in 8 of the professionals in the industry.(Engineers Ireland)
“Women very much remain an untapped resource in the sector,” said Engineers Ireland director general Caroline Spillane. “Most of society’s biggest challenges will require interdisciplinary solutions and the combined mindpower of women and men working together. It is very much in the engineering profession’s interests that we better bridge this gender gap to harness the abundance of skills that are now the hallmark of our female graduates.”
Some progress has been made at Junior and Leaving Cert Education level with the majority of students who sit both science and maths subjects being women. However at third level education this gender gap very much remains a problem. Although the number of female students entering engineering courses has increased from 9% to 12%, since 2011, the significant gender gap is restricting the growth of the engineering profession and its potential to deliver for society.
Research has found that companies with a gender balance that reflects wider society are more productive and profitable. It is within the interests of a business to encourage women in engineering and something we take pride in doing here at Premium Power.
We believe women are a formidable force and should be encouraged at every chance. We aim to shape the minds of those who are interested in engineering by offering work placements and internships. Our partnerships with local schools and colleges allows us to host events and give talks explaining the different types of engineering, their impact on today’s world and answer any questions the students might have about a career in engineering.
Engineers are often painted by society as just the guys who fix machines, admittedly not extremely appealing, but the reality is that engineers are at the forefront of designing and creating solutions for the world’s problems. What they do affects all our lives and has much more creative aspects than is portrayed. The industry needs more diversity to represent society as a whole and the only way this will change is to show young women the possibilities with a career in engineering.
We took part in Engineers Week last week a campaign held annually to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the profession to children in Ireland. It involves over 800 activities which were attended by over 99,000 participants, and we were delighted to be involved this year.
“Contact with engineers is an influential factor for young people, and visibility of female role models is especially important for young girls,” commented Marguerite Sayers, President of Engineers Ireland. “By bringing students face-to-face with engineering role models and showcasing their achievements and impact they make in society we can send a clear message that a career in engineering offers all young people, regardless of gender, the opportunity to engineer the Ireland of tomorrow and have a real impact on the lives of those around them. Only by working together can we tackle outdated stereotypes that prevent young people from seeing a future for themselves in this rewarding profession.”
Our engineers Paula O’Neill, Mhairi Therese Gallagher and Brenda Ehigiegba all made school visits as part of the campaign. They gave their experience as women within the industry, answered any questions the children had and hopefully encouraged some budding engineers to pursue it as a career. These children are the future of society and if we can help in anyway to encourage them to have a positive impact on it then we will.
Engineers Ireland issue a report annually to give a barometer of the industry, you can find the 2020 report here.
To see all our activities from over Engineers Week check out our social media and featured post.