Doug Anderson, Sales and Marketing Manager of Guttridge, discusses the importance of attracting future female engineers and offers a few top tips along the way.
As a company, it’s important to not only chase the next customer, but also chase the next employee. The engineering sector should constantly attract new talent and actively encourage more females into what has traditionally been a male-dominated environment. It’s vital that future engineers should be motivated and passionate at the earliest stage in their professional development.
Why work in engineering?
The engineering sector is regarded as a cornerstone of the UK’s economic progression. In the future, engineers will be charged with producing cutting-edge technology and building structures that will help the UK tackle any renewable energy issues. To achieve this, there needs to be as many people entering the industry as possible. Organisations must remove any existing preconceptions and make engineering an attractive career path for all young people, by taking actions to promote and encourage working in the industry. How do we do this? Well here are four tactics to help secure the future engineering talent.
Generate interest early
Firstly, it’s vital to ensure that children and students of all ages, male and female, are informed about engineering. There are many different disciplines within the sector, offering different opportunities. Young students who are passionate about engineering and keen to enter the industry should have the opportunity to make informed educational decisions in order to realise their ambition.
The education sector and schools are improving increasing awareness in the sector, by using dynamic teaching methods to help bring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to life. Attracting girls to the industry is a huge priority as they are still scarce in the engineering profession despite the career opportunities it offers.
As well as emphasising the importance of STEM to students, male and female, it is just as important that teachers and parents are aware of the importance and benefits that working in engineering can bring.
Earning and learning
In the past, engineering companies tend to lack an on-campus presence at schools, colleges and universities which hasn’t helped graduate intake into the sector. However, in recent years the visibility in terms of career potential are now in front of young talent.
The cost of attending university deters many young people, so it’s crucial to make them aware of the existence of other routes to a successful and rewarding career. Apprenticeships and internships offer an opportunity to learn whilst earning a wage, and can become a huge step to further education later in life. In-house training is offered alongside fully funded qualifications to help employees enhance their formal education. Organisations need to provide these development opportunities to help attract engineers from a wider range of social backgrounds. Learning on the job can produce more well-rounded employees – as it requires hard work and dedication.
Removing industry preconceptions
In the past engineering has been perceived as a male-oriented industry, and the lack of female engineers in the UK suggests that very little has changed. Given the diversity roles within the sector, there is absolutely no justification for this.
Perhaps as an industry we need to effectively relay the message that a career in engineering offers a wealth of opportunities that actually take place in very modern and high-tech environments, as opposed to grubby ones.
Wealth of opportunity
The scale of opportunity that engineering can provide for entry level students is superb. Engineering is an exciting career field to be involved in, and new opportunities are always available for qualified engineers. It is a flourishing and fast growing sector, not to mention engineering graduates earn some of the best salaries in the country.
Many engineering businesses have offices overseas, so there are also opportunities for graduates to travel abroad, especially to the MENA area.
When it comes to interviews and the selection process, recruitment of new staff in the engineering sector needs to be based on talent alone, rather than gender or any other arbitrary factor. The more that a company builds its female workforce, the more women will be attracted to fill positions in the industry, and the industry will thrive.
It is therefore up to those currently involved in the engineering sector, to spread the word and improve the appreciation of a career which knows no bounds, and continue to do what we can for our future engineers.
At Guttridge we encourage the STEM subjects by working with The Imagineering Foundation to introduce school children to the fascinating world of engineering and technology. We are seeing extremely encouraging results with our local school and are working hard to ensure the children are inspired to consider a career in engineering.