Opportunities for female workers highlighted ahead of International Women in Engineering Day


THE Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has revealed that the number of women entering engineering professions is growing and they are bringing ‘crucial’ skills needed to tackle major challenges. 

Women now make up 16.5% of the UK’s engineering workforce compared to just 10.5% in 2010. The number of women working in engineering roles has risen to 936,000 from 562,000, according to research carried out by EngineeringUK. 

BESA said their growing influence is being celebrated during International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, which is organised by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

“Thousands of words have been written about the barriers to gender equality, but it is only through concrete action that real change can happen,” said Kirsty Cogan, BESA’s MD of commercial services. “For engineering, which is suffering from a growing skills shortage, to be, in effect, recruiting from just half of the available workforce seems crazy.

“There are amazing career opportunities for women and girls in our industry, but gender stereotypes still hold sway and, as a result, our businesses are missing out.”

Legal and commercial director Debbie Petford revealed that most of the barriers that might have prevented or discouraged women from entering engineering professions were coming down.

“The adoption of modern methods of working and the emergence of Big Data and digital design techniques, along with the rapid advancement of building services technology, mean the sector desperately needs more talented young people with new skills and from a much wider background,” she said. “And it is these same advances that are also making it easier for women to gain access to technical and leadership roles – we need to build on that.”