Barriers to education and entry and how this deters graduates and apprentices


According to the WISE Campaign, girls remain under represented across core STEM – for the second year in a row they represent only 36.7% of entrants to core STEM subjects. Statistics highlight that the percentage of STEM graduates that are women has dropped slightly from 25% to 24%. Yet, girls continue to outperform boys in most STEM GCSE subjects.

So, why do so many young women abandon STEM careers after leaving school and upon graduation?


Lack of Female Representation

At school, classes are usually evenly-split with male and female students, and students will learn the majority of (if not all) STEM subjects. This is a normality.

When education and a career become a choice, these women suddenly become deterred, indicating the lack of female representation is having an impact on the number of girls wanting to study a STEM subject at University level, and eventually seeking a STEM job.

Often, a sense of belonging is hard to accomplish when your class is in abundance of the opposite sex, particularly when it comes to team-related tasks. Negative group dynamics tend to hit hardest at the final stages of education: an apprenticeship or degree, where team-building activities are a constant part of the process.


Where is my Wonder Woman?

With the gender gap being so prominent in many STEM subjects, sectors such as Engineering rarely uphold a high number of female tutors, as most tutors will have once been skilled in such disciplines earlier on in their careers.

So, it comes as no surprise that upon choosing a qualification, and eventually a career, girls fail to recognise the benefits of continuing with a STEM subject. Young women are highly impressionable and failing to inspire them with female role models in their desirable careers often lead to a lack of confidence in their own abilities to succeed in the male-typical sectors.


Is Mentoring key?

There is more and more female mentoring occurring across the Engineering sector. Diversity groups such as POWERful Women are key in ensuring female professionals have an influential leader to guide them through the various paths of their careers. But, there is still a long way to go in ensuring the future female leaders of the engineering industry have the guidance they need to thrive in an engineering career.


Juggling a Work/Life Balance

Whilst being incredibly inspiring and rewarding, engineering careers are often demanding, time-heavy, and a long commute from home. Digital fields aside, a healthy work-life-balance is only in recent years becoming more and more achievable for women in engineering.

Flexible working opportunities are now becoming a necessity for engineering companies, who are beginning to recognise the importance of offering employees such benefits.

When considering the future, the prospect of children can often be a significant consideration for women deciding on a career. The more digital divisions can rest easy that flexible working opportunities should be achievable. Alas, for the more hands-on roles, this is not always possible. Are women thinking of a future family when turning down a career in engineering?


In conjunction with Energy Jobline, NES Global Talent will host the ‘Promoting Women in Energy’ diversity event in Aberdeen on 26th September (morning), where exclusive results from the Women in Energy Global Study, a unique diversity report focused on promoting women working in the energy sector, will be launched and shared with energy recruitment leaders and managers.  

Are you a hiring leader based in Scotland looking for more support in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce? We hope to see you at the event in Aberdeen on 26 September.

Please click here to confirm your attendance.

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