Manufacturing’s female representation under spotlight

Annual IET survey highlights male-female workplace gap

New IET survey ranks industry above engineering
New IET survey ranks industry above engineering

Manufacturing has outscored the construction and engineering industries for female representation in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s annual skills report.

In a survey of 400 firms, the existing gulf between male and female workplace representation was highlighted with 24% of manufacturing employees being female.

But despite the unequal balance, this was in contrast to other industries including construction (11%) and engineering, which scored just six percent.

With manufacturing second behind police officers (27%), the survey of 11 professions illustrated the continuing struggle for firms looking to recruit female engineers, with the six percent figure unchanged since 2008.

The report also highlighted the anxiety of companies struggling to recruit sufficiently qualified engineering staff, with a number believing this predicament posed a threat to their business.

IET chief executive Nigel Fine called for immediate action in addressing the search for new engineers, believing the recruitment of more women as being particularly important.

“Promoting engineering to women is particularly important given how few currently work as engineers, so it’s disappointing to see that so many employers are taking no real action to improve diversity,” he said.

“They need to take urgent steps to improve recruitment and retention of women, for example by promoting flexible and part-time working, together with planned routes of progression that can accommodate career breaks.

Fine added: “There also needs to be deeper engagement between employers and the education system to produce a talent pipeline that can sustain a thriving UK economy.”

The results for manufacturing show a steady increase in the number of women working in the industry at factory level, similarly to data from May showing greater female representation at boardroom level.

Lord Davies’ Women on Boards report showed all of Britain’s FTSE100 manufacturers now have at least one female director on their boards.

Leading the way were GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever with five female board members each, while Diageo had four, but scored highest in percentage terms with 44% of board places taken by women.

But the Davies report also warned the industry needs to address its “dirty and unglamorous” image if it is to increase female recruitment levels in future.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Related Topic Article

New Government and industry-backed digital qualifications aim to provide the skills for a wide range of digital jobs in the UK, helping to fill the projected one million vacancies in the digital sector during the next decade.

The new digital qualifications aim to provide the skills for a wide range of digital jobs in the UK

Related Topic Article

The Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) is taking part in TeenTech, a series of events designed to get the next generation involved in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

TeenTech participants will have the chance to work at AME’s new 1,700 sqm manufacturing and R&D hub



  • Professional Services Supplement 2014

    People who run a manufacturing business know pretty much everything about it, and may have worked in their company all the way from the ground up. However, even the most hands-on owner/manager will not know

  • Energy Security 2014

    ENERGY&SECURITY SUPP 26 09 2014 The good news is – energy prices have been stable for the past two years and there has been so much great work done on energy efficiency over the past

More reports


Manufacturing Jobs

View all jobs