Drive to boost employment for women in Engineering and Construction

Posted: Feb 05, 2015

The government is supporting a drive to encourage more female representation in some of the UK’s most male-dominated sectors, such as Construction and Engineering.

Despite the many benefits that working in this way can bring – such as flexible hours and the ability for contractors to set their own pay rates – these fields tend to be dominated by male members of staff, perhaps due to long-ingrained stereotypes.

However, employment minister Esther McVey wants to see these views overhauled and the construction and engineering industries doing more to attract women to such roles.

Speaking at a careers roadshow in the West Midlands last week, she discussed the upcoming launch of a campaign that will use the #NotJustforBoys tag on social media to raise awareness of the fact that there is no reason why women cannot take on construction and engineering contracts.

Ms McVey commented: “Women are getting on and making choices about the world of work that many of their mothers and grandmothers might not have considered.

“Despite a record number of women in work, they are still underrepresented in many of the industries – for example, engineering, science and construction – where they can be the role models in traditionally male-dominated jobs for the next generation.

“With record employment and almost 700,000 vacancies in the economy, I want to see as many young women as possible making the most of those opportunities to provide the security of a regular wage for themselves.”

Figures show that currently, just seven per cent of engineering professionals are female, while women only account for one-quarter of science, engineering and production technicians.

However, the number of females working in the construction sector has increased by approximately 14,000 over the past 12 months, taking the total to roughly 260,000.

Yet with estimates indicating that around 12 million job opportunities could arise in these sectors over the next ten years, Ms McVey believes it is vital that women are aware of exactly how working in such a role could benefit them.

Construction and engineering are not the only sectors where women are significantly underrepresented, as data also shows that just 20 per cent of broadcast media employees – including photographers, audio-visual professionals and equipment operators – are female.

Furthermore, men dominate graphic design roles, currently taking around 70 per cent of the roles in this field.

Although there are significant gender gaps present in some of the UK’s industries, information from the Office for National Statistics shows that there are now approximately 14.4 million women currently in employment in the country – a record level.

Ms McVey also called on more women to take advantage of government start-up business support schemes, as she highlighted that if females established their own companies at the same rate as males, there would be an additional 150,000 firms entering the UK market and contributing to the British economy each year.

This post has been written by Paysteam Accounting Services Ltd