Women ‘untapped resource’ for engineering sector

‘Engineering 2018’ report calls for greater proportion of females in workforce

The gender gap is alive and well in the engineering sector, as employers fail to target female recruitment as a “untapped resource”, a new report has found.

According to a survey developed by Engineers Ireland, only 16 per cent of engineering graduates are female, and women make up only 12 per cent of professionals in the industry.

The report, Engineering 2018, was published to mark Engineers Week 2018, which runs until Friday.

“With just 12 per cent of engineering professionals in Ireland currently female, women very much remain an untapped resource in the sector,” said Engineers Ireland director general Caroline Spillane. “Most of society’s biggest challenges will require interdisciplinary solutions and the combined mindpower of women and men working together. It is very much in the engineering profession’s interests that we better bridge this gender gap to harness the abundance of skills that are now the hallmark of our female graduates.”


Stem subjects

Although there have been positive developments in education at Junior and Leaving Cert level, Ms Spillane said the challenge for the industry was building on this to convert burgeoning interest in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects into more women engineering professionals.

The report found the total number of Stem sittings at Junior Cert higher-level rose 16 per cent over the past five years, and 25 per cent more students were taking higher-level Junior Cert mathematics over that period. At Leaving Cert level, the number of students sitting exams in Stem subjects rose by 5 per cent.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist