A new report has found that the overwhelming majority of women working as engineers in Britain find the profession to be rewarding and say their gender has little to no bearing on their careers.
The report, Britain’s Got Talented Female Engineers, is an initiative of engineering giant Atkins conducted in collaboration with BP, Rolls Royce and RAEng.
It surveyed the views and experiences of 300 women working across all engineering disciplines, including aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and structural engineering.
The survey results found that 98 per cent of respondents found the profession rewarding, with 80 per cent saying that they found it gratifying to see their efforts reach fruition in the form of a completed project.
While women remain a tiny minority among UK engineering professionals at just six per cent, survey respondents overwhelmingly reported that their gender had not been a negative factor in their careers (87 per cent).
Increasing the number of women who opt to enter the engineering profession could be a key means of resolving the stark shortage of engineers in the UK, which many feel could act as a major roadblock in future to the development of the country’s science and tech sectors.
While most female engineers feel that their gender has not been a hindrance, they also feel strongly that greater education and awareness is needed to encourage more women to enter the profession.
Around seven out of eight respondents say increased awareness is needed of the nature of the engineering profession, while a further 70 per cent said girls could do with better career advice.
People close to female engineers during their formative years also frequently have a major impact on their future career decisions, with 40 per cent of respondents saying that family members, usually their fathers, motivated them to join the profession, while 91 per cent said encouragement from school teachers was a factor.
Aside from the satisfaction of seeing the realization of engineering projects, other benefits reported by respondents included regular working hours, ample remuneration – the salary levels of engineers in the UK ranks second behind only the medical profession – and the opportunity to travel and collaborate with a broad variety of people.