Wales will benefit from an increase in women engineers, says Chwarae Teg’s Cerys Furlong. More women engineers will help to plug the existing skills gap, create a more diverse workforce, and boost the Welsh economy.
Chwarae Teg is using International Women in Engineering Day to call on Welsh businesses to do more to encourage and support women in the sector.
Women continue to be under-represented in the engineering industry; despite high performance in STEM subjects at school, women aren’t progressing into higher education and engineering careers.
The engineering sector contributes over 26% to UK GDP every year, and offers some of the most secure and highly paid jobs. But women are missing out on these opportunities. Women currently make up only 11% of the UK engineering workforce, and less than 10% of engineering professionals (the lowest percentage in Europe, compared to 30% in Latvia).
Chwarae Teg Chief Executive, Cerys Furlong said: “At the moment, we’re facing a huge skills gap in Wales and across the UK, with claims that the number of engineering graduates needs to double by 2020 to meet demand.
“More women engineers can help to plug this gap, and Chwarae Teg is working with the sector to make engineering jobs more accessible to women in the first place. At the moment, only around 11% of engineering companies offer flexible working, and we want to help businesses to lead a change in this.
“Chwarae Teg wants to show women and girls that they should never feel that their ambition has to be limited by their gender. We want to work with businesses in the engineering sector as accessible as possible so they can really access the huge pool of female talent that there is in Wales.”
“Chwarae Teg’s Agile Nation programme, which is fully funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government, and our FairPlay Employer service, work with companies to improve their equality and diversity strategies and help them make it easier to recruit, retain and progress women in their business, giving them the benefits of a truly balanced workforce.
“The services help employers to identify and tackle barriers to women’s progression within their organisations, and create bespoke plans to give them a clear path to gender equality within their business.
“Chwarae Teg’s Not Just For Boys events work with young women and girls and encourage them to consider alternative career paths, and break down traditional perceptions, showing them that women can thrive in all sectors.”