EngineeringUK has released a new report – 'Engineering in higher education' – which shows that just 18.5 per cent of engineering undergraduates are female students. The report describes this as an “exceptionally low” figure compared to the 56.5 per cent representation seen across all subjects. The issue is mirrored across the engineering and technology workforce.

The report also finds a lack of ethnic diversity, with the majority (66.1 per cent) of engineering and technology students being white, although this figure is slightly lower than all subjects combined, where over 70 per cent (72.1 per cent) of students are white.

This is a result of the better representation of Asian students in engineering and technology (18 vs 12.7 per cent for all subjects). However, only 8.1 per cent of engineering and technology students were Black and 4.9 per cent were of mixed-race, figures which are similar for all subjects.

The report, based on 2020/21 data...

  • This shouldn’t be surprising. The current models for motivating/inspiring female & ethnic groups into engineering are flawed. The process or approach is upside down and focuses too heavily on “stars”. If potential entrants think they have to be “award-winning” students to make it in engineering, they will be less likely to attempt it. There’s a need to shine the spotlight also on every day engineering/technical professionals, students and apprentices who are making a difference in the contributions they make - especially in little ways.