The Engineering Brand Monitor is an annual survey carried out by EngineeringUK, and this year’s results provide cause for optimism, with the proportion of 16- to 19-year-olds who would consider a career in engineering increasing significantly since 2016 (from 37% to 45%).
Additionally, most teachers and parents — key influencers in young people’s decision making — had a positive view of engineering, with 80% of STEM secondary teachers and 68% of parents believing that a career in engineering would be desirable for their pupils or children.
The survey of more than 2,500 young people, 1,000 STEM secondary-school teachers and 1,800 members of the public also shows “compelling evidence” that STEM out-reach can and does work: young people attending a STEM careers activity in the previous 12 months were over three-times as likely to consider a career in engineering as those who had not.
However, the survey says that work is still needed to improve young people’s knowledge, perceptions and understanding of engineering, particularly girls.
“There are clear gender differences across the board, with girls being less likely than boys to know about engineering, to view it positively, to consider a career in the industry or know what to do next in order to become an engineer.
They are also less likely to believe they could become an engineer if they wanted to.” The survey also reveals issues with how engineering is perceived.
For example, engineering lagged behind other STEM subjects with respect to young people’s knowledge of what those working in the industry do and the extent to which they perceive engineering positively and believe it to be a desirable career.
Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK, said: “The Engineering Brand Monitor provides a unique insight into how STEM is viewed by young people, educators and other influencers.
"The latest results reveal that young people place high importance on ‘having an impact’ and ‘being valued’ when deciding upon a career; STEM out-reach should emphasise the great and wide-ranging contributions that engineers make to society . . . Given the urgent need to encourage more, and have more diverse young people in engineering, we must work together to make sure that every young person has repeated opportunities to be inspired by STEM and engineering.”
The full report is available at the Web site (www.engineeringuk.com/ebm