The UK has the 'worst record' in Europe for the recruitment of women engineers

 

The UK has the worst record in Europe for the recruitment of women engineers, according to a report out today.

In addition, half the country’s mixed sex state schools do not have a single girl studying physics at A-level.

The figures are released in a review carried out for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills by Professor John Perkins - its chief scientific adviser, which says there is an urgent need to substantially increase the supply of engineers in the UK if the country is to compete with its international rivals.

“We’re chronically short of people and we need to do something about it,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable.  “At the moment we’re only talking to half the population.  Britain is the worst country in Europe in terms of female recruitment into engineering.

“Half of all our state schools don’t have a single girl studying physics A-level.”

According to the report, only eight per cent of engineering professionals in the UK are women - which compares to 30 per cent in Latvia, the country with the best record. In addition, 22 of the 28 countries surveyed do twice as well as the UK in terms of recruitment.

The report effectively questions whether thousands of pounds pumped into efforts to promote equality in subject choice has been wasted and will boost claims that girls are more likely to go for non-traditional subject options in single sex schools.

It shows, too, that parents to blame for putting girls off a career in engineering - they were nine per cent less likely to recommend it as a career for girls, the biggest “gender gap” for any job.

“This is a crucial issue,” says the report.  “Engineering is failing to draw on the whole of the talent pool.”
It adds that one of the reasons for the poor recruitment record is that gender stereotypes are often reinforced in the careers advice given to students.

It urges the Government to concentrate efforts at persuading more young people to take up engineering as a career at 11 to 14-year-olds, adding: “Starting to inspire people at 16 is too late: choices are made and options closed off well before then.”

The report praises the work of University Technical Colleges, the network of colleges offering top-class vocational study for 14 to 19-year-olds - 33 of the 44 currently being planned have a specialism in engineering, It argues there should be more of them - a fact conceded by Mr Cable although he warned they were more expensive to provide because of the equipment they needed to offer courses,

Further research published today shows that half the country’s 11 to 14-year-olds would not consider a career in engineering because they do not know anything about it.  The figure is much higher for girls - 65 per cent.

However, it shows 28 per cent would consider it as a career if they realised they could work inb exciting industries like fashion, music and film.

The reports are issued at the start of “Tomorrow’s Engineers Week”, an initiative aimed at change perceptions of engineering as a career,. To coincide with the launch, the Government announced would be able top bid for up to £30 million worth of funding in the New Year to help them address skills shortages.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy