SL Controls is using International Women’s Day to encourage more young women and teenage girls to consider a career in engineering.
“You don’t have to look very far to find figures that highlight the gender imbalance in engineering,” said Adrienne Burke, SL Controls In-House Recruiter. “It starts at secondary school when young people start choosing subjects and continues through third-level education and into the workplace.”
In 2016, 15 percent of boys completing the Leaving Certificate took engineering as a subject. This compares to less than one percent of girls.
This disparity carries through to third-level education. In 2016, less than 18 percent of engineering, manufacturing, and construction graduates were female. This is despite the fact that, overall, more women than men achieved a third-level qualification in that year.
The imbalance between males and females studying engineering then translates to the workplace. Today, around one in 10 engineers in Ireland is female.
Adrienne said: “We see this imbalance when recruiting as we simply don’t receive many applications from female engineering candidates. The jobs are there, they are good quality jobs, and, like other companies, we want more women to apply.
“Companies benefit from having a healthy mix of males and females in the workplace. We need more women – teenage girls in secondary school and young women about to start third-level education – to consider engineering.”
This opinion is backed up by Deirdre Loughlin, Marketing & Administration Executive at SL Controls. “Ireland needs more engineers, particularly engineers with key skills in growing and emerging fields of engineering. This includes automation, validation, and controls engineers as well as engineers with skills to develop, implement, and maintain Industry 4.0 technologies.
“I see this every day with the clients we work with. They need engineers, and those engineers should be women. Old gender stereotypes about engineering being a man’s job are, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.
“If more women get into engineering, everyone will benefit, particularly the women themselves.”