There are now more than one million women working in core STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) roles across the UK – but to keep this number moving in the right direction, there’s still work to be done
Thanks in part to organisations such as WISE and the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), that work to encourage more women into the sector; females now comprise more than 24% of the core-STEM workforce. The number of women in engineering roles has almost doubled over the last decade, from 25,000 to just over 50,000.
More to be done
While this signifies excellent progress, the campaign to encourage more females into STEM careers doesn’t stop here.
The sector is aiming for a target of 1.5 million women working in STEM by 2030. This would equate to 30% of the workforce being female. 30% is seen as the ‘critical mass level’, where a minority group of women would have the ability to affect real change.
There are many benefits to attracting women into your company. Engineering recruitment often focuses solely on wording their adverts and conversations with potential employees carefully so that women feel like they will be judged on their merit as their gender, in this circumstance, is viewed as the norm. If you have decided to diversify your workplace with more women in engineering roles, read on.
A Targeted Female Focus
It would be wise to concentrate on hiring female engineers with targeted recruitment. That way, it encourages more women to apply than if the recruitment was targeted generally, as gender-based discrimination will be familiar to them and possibly assumed as likely to happen again. As a lot of companies specifically emphasise their desire to hire female engineers, you need to repeat this move, so you don’t get usurped by the savvy marketing other companies are using to enfranchise female engineers.
Avoid Stereotypical Thinking
Understand why you want a female engineer. If you are trying to meet a diversity quota, remain open-minded about why this exists. Any female engineers who interview with you will be able to assess your attitude towards issues such as equality, but we recommend emphasising a willingness to reward a person’s aptitude, rather than having a bias towards the stereotype of a maintenance or service engineer etc.
Understand the Benefits
Multinational company Deloitte conducted a study that found having a diverse organisation generates 1.4 times more revenue than organisations without a diversity focus. The statistics are in place to support the idea that female-focused engineering recruitment will bring you financial rewards.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that only 25% of all tech roles globally are held by women and if this changed to accompany a more diverse route, workforce productivity would increase by as much as 16%.
Good quality engineering recruitment takes into account the reasons ‘why’ just as much as the facts. The ability to hire new talent requires a level of understanding beyond relying on autopilot hiring strategies, with attracting female engineers included.