Despite engineering courses at universities still receiving four-times more male applications than female, analysis of data by employment lawyers Richard Nelson LLP
found an increase of some 93% in female undergraduate applications through UCAS for engineering courses from 2011 to 2020.
However, while the gender statistics for this STEM subject look impressive, engineering courses still face a significant gender gap, with 119,250 male applicants in 2020 and just 29,200 female — implying that engineering industries still have a long way to go in attracting young female talent to join their ranks.
That said, the research also demonstrates that engineering courses are continuing to attract an increasing number of potential engineers.
Jayne Harrison from Richard Nelson (pictured) said: “The data demonstrates how the employment landscape has changed over the past decade.
“We have seen a significant rise in the number of females who are interested in studying engineering at university; it is also encouraging to see the overall increase in applications for engineering courses from undergraduates during the last decade.
“However, we can see there is still work to be done in order to support the applications of females. There is a significant issue with gender roles, and how this is influencing the careers of our young people. For real change to occur we must appreciate that addressing this imbalance is not only the responsibility of schools and parents but also that of various stakeholders.”
Hannah Titley, Golden Circle education group director, said: “Despite progress towards gender equality in the last 10 years, social norms around gender roles still pervade. We need to inform and inspire, inform girls on what careers are available in science and how these jobs are critical for finding solutions to global challenges — climate change, food security and healthcare, for example.
“We also need to inspire girls by making these jobs attractive and push successful female scientists to the forefront — in all aspects of the media — to talk about their work, explain why their job matters and empower young people to get involved.”
Full details of this research can be found at the Web site (www.richardnelsonllp.co.uk/university-applications-course-largest-gender-disparity-2020