Subcon poll: Not enough women employed in UK manufacturing

More than half (54%) of the UK manufacturing industry believe there are not enough women employed in the industry and are calling on the sector to make changes from within as well as additional support from Government.

The poll of over 500 UK manufacturing professionals was carried out by Subcon, a leading UK manufacturing supply chain show. The show, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016, takes place from 7-9 June at Birmingham’s NEC.

When asked, ‘what needs to be done by the industry and Government to encourage more women to consider manufacturing as a career?’, respondents suggested the battle needs to start at school age with more educational opportunities for girls and better promotion of engineering among female students.

They also called on Government to consider supporting a PR campaign to improve the perception of the industry among women and protected status for engineers in a similar vein to other chartered professions.

Voters also believe the industry has its own job to do to attract more women such as equal and better pay and the wider adoption of benefits targeted at parents.

The top seven changes recommended by respondents to attract more women into engineering are: better educational opportunities within schools and universities, including better trained teachers; increased promotion within schools targeting girls; equal and better pay; a PR campaign to improve the perception of the industry and to highlight the career opportunities within it; more promotion of the industry and specific jobs targeted at women; flexible hours, childcare and maternity/paternity leave; and protected status for engineers, similar to other professions

Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, managing director of Subcon exhibitor Professional Polishing Services, commented on the poll, saying: “My view is that manufacturing has had a bad press for many years, being dismissed as an ‘old and dirty’ industry.

“This perception is starting to change and there has been a realisation that, by not making the industry more welcoming to women, companies are focusing on recruiting less than 50% of the available talent out there. By increasing awareness and education that manufacturing is a viable employment sector we can ensure that the pool of talent to choose from in future generations is bigger.”

Adam Ellis, Department of Material Engineering, University of Sheffield, added: “We need to change the perception of engineering as a ‘man’s job’,” and Chris McHugh, technical director (Composites), NW Texnet said: “We need to promote the sector as a more technical environment requiring intellect and multiple skills capability if we are to attract more women. Aerospace is leading the way on this.”


Related Articles
Most recent Articles

Login / Sign up