A BAE Systems’ boss has spoken out on International Women’s Day to say the UK needs to do more to encourage women into engineering.
The UK is trailing the rest of Europe when it comes to attracting women into the sector and engineering director at Military Air and Information, Simon Howison, says the low proportion of women taking up a career is a real concern that UK plc needs to urgently address.
He said: “Only 8.7 per cent of professional engineers are women, meaning the UK has the lowest proportion in Europe. Yet if you look at the actual activity, there is no reason why one gender would do better than another. My concern is that, because in the UK it is largely seen as a male activity, there are huge numbers of girls who could have had successful careers as engineers who never give it a thought.”
His worries over a lack of women in the sector comes as recent estimates from the Sector Skills Councils says the UK needs to produce 2.2 million skilled engineers over the next decade to help meet a wide range of global challenges.
In the UK business, nine per cent of BAE Systems’ apprentice hires in 2012 were female; this compares to a national average of five per cent. And 15 per cent of its 2012 graduate engineering intake was female.