Skills shortage as just 9% of engineers are female

Employers are having trouble recruiting engineers with the right skills, according to a recent report.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has found that new engineers are not meeting employers’ expectations and it could be down to what they learn in the classroom.

According to the Express & Star, experts believe children should take things apart and see how they are made to boost an interest in the field and deliver positive messages. They also found that teachers and academics should spend time within the industry as well.

Kevin Payne is the Head of ICT Upgrades at London Underground. He said: “Primary and secondary education, and our broader culture, do not place a strong emphasis on practical engineering questions, and my perception is that 90%-plus of teachers have only the flimsiest grasp of what engineering really is.”

Research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said over half of their new recruits do not meet their “reasonable expectations.” Graduates were their highest concern (61%), followed by experienced staff (54%) and school leavers (52%).

The report found that 66% were worried about the education system not teaching the right skills for technological change. 64% said the shortage in engineers is acting as a threat to their businesses.

And if that wasn’t enough, diversity also appears to be a key concern. Only 9% of all engineering and technology employees are female, despite 37% of the 400 companies running gender diversity initiatives. Recently, Recruitment Grapevine reported on the viral sensation of #ILookLikeAnEngineer, which aimed to fight sexism in the technology sector.

Graham Pearl is the Engineering Director at Db Broadcast. He said: “We would love to see more females in our industry. Technology-based courses do not appear to be favoured by females. We recently had one female applicant for our graduate positions out of 50 applicants – this is an industry-wide issue and in the niche broadcast technology sector it is completely male dominated.”

The Chief Executive of IET, Nigel Fine, also commented: “Stronger and deeper collaboration between employers and academic institutions is needed to agree practical steps to ensure that young people are suitably prepared both academically and practically before they start work.

“Employers also need to recognise the need for workforce diversity and do more to attract recruits from a wider talent pool.”

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