More must be done 'to diversify engineering'

More must be done 'to diversify engineering'

It is generally accepted that great strides have been made in making traditionally masculine industries such as engineering more attractive to female candidates, with the amount of women involved in the sector definitely improving.

However, a recent survey from world-leading design and engineering consultancy WSP has indicated more needs to be done to draw females into this line of work.

Currently, women make up just 8.7 per cent of the UK's engineering workforce, although areas such as environmental planning and transport tend to offer a higher proportion of female staff.

According to WSP managing director Mark Naysmith, the onus is on businesses to find new ways to make their roles appealing to this segment of the population.

"As far as I can tell little is being done in way of on the ground solutions, solutions that ultimately we in the industry must implement," he declared.

While it is important that diversity measures embrace all areas and do not solely focus on increasing the proportion of women in the sector, this is as good a place as any to start, added the WSP managing director.

His company's survey of female employees found that 64 per cent of them were not made aware of engineering options as a potential choice for them while at school, suggesting that more needs to be done at an educational level to showcase the range and quality of the jobs available to people in the industry.
 
There also needs to be more done to raise the profile of engineering at a national level, making the success of firms such as WSP more visible on a national level, Mr Naysmith claimed.

"I remain concerned that if we don't attract enough young people into the profession the workforce won't be strong or diverse enough in the future to deliver on the challenges society will face," he concluded.

Given the huge number of high-level construction projects planned for the next decade, it is crucial the UK produced a talented home-grown workforce to match.

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