Female Engineers ‘Facing Discrimination’ At Work

Female Engineers ‘Facing Discrimination’ At Work
4th August 2017 Pentag Gears

A new study has found that 63 per cent of women in engineering have experienced discrimination in the form of unacceptable behaviour or comments – up to three times more than women working in medical or financial jobs.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) report has found that 60 per cent believe it is easier for men to progress in their careers in this sector and 40 per cent of female engineers say they’re not treated equally in the workplace.

It seems that the issue is a prevalent one even before women get their first jobs in the industry. It was revealed that nearly half of those asked said they experienced differential treatment at some point before graduation, whether as a student or on work experience. And some 75 per cent of them were aware of being treated differently by the time their first year of work came to an end.

Some key recommendations were made in the white paper to help tackle the problem head on. These include promoting the adoption of benchmarks for retaining women in their early to mid-careers, annual consultations with all employees about the fairness of reward, work social activity and professional support, and properly resourced careers education to reflect its role in the creation of a successful industrial strategy.

“The UK is facing an engineering skills shortfall and we need to find ways to attract and retain women in this sector. It is unacceptable that after completing an engineering degree just under half of women decide to leave the profession. There is also the need to make the sector more attractive for parents, as currently two-thirds of women leave their engineering careers after taking maternity leave,” head of education and skills at the IME and co-author of the report Peter Finegold said.

It’s not just the engineering sector that appears to have an equality issue where men and women are concerned, however. Further research from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently found that more needs to be done to deal with sexism and achieve equality in the industry.

Some 35 per cent of employees think men are better suited for the particular skills required in construction, while 30 per cent of women say fears of sexism are holding them back from going after senior roles in the sector.

Although the RICS does stress the point that more needs to be done by businesses to tackle gender inequality and sexism, the study did show a level of optimism where pay is concerned. Almost half of the construction workers asked predicted that the gap in pay will be less than 15 per cent come April next year.

More investments in training for women and investing in the future pipeline of talent in order to create a more diverse workforce were suggested as ways to help tackle the problem.

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