Engineers survey points to more women opting for the profession
Margie McCarthy, membership director, Engineers Ireland; John Perry, TD, Minister for Small Business; and Graham Morris, managing director, HRM Recruit

Engineers survey points to more women opting for the profession

27 Feb 2013

Men outnumber women in the engineering profession by almost nine to one, a new survey of more than 2,000 engineers in Ireland out today reveals. However, John Power, director-general of Engineers Ireland, said the fact that 50pc of women respondents were under the age of 35 is a positive signal that more women are opting for engineering careers.

Engineers Ireland carried out the research for the Engineering Perspectives report along with HRM Recruit. The results of the survey were announced this morning as part of Engineers Week.

Between January and February, 2,064 engineers were surveyed to get their insights on the engineering profession in Ireland.

According to the findings, a rise in demand is starting to show for engineers in Ireland, notably in the technology, energy and life-sciences areas.

Less than 5pc of those engineers surveyed said they were unemployed.

Of those surveyed, men outnumber women in the engineering profession by nearly nine to one.

Of the female respondents, 50pc were 35 years of age or younger, with the engineering body pointing to how this is an indication that more women are starting to opt for the engineering profession. Meanwhile, 32pc of male respondents were aged 35 or under.

Opportunities

The report also found that nearly 40pc of all engineers surveyed are with their employers for more than eight years.

As well as this, 45pc of respondents said they got a pay increase in the last three years, two-thirds of whom were in the 26-35 age bracket.

According to Engineers Ireland, this signals how young engineers entering the profession have the scope to earn well and advance quickly.

Speaking at the launch of the report this morning, the Minister for Small Business John Perry, TD, said steps will continue to have to be taken to meet industry demand for engineers by companies of all sizes operating in Ireland.

"This year’s Engineers Week will do much to encourage students to consider engineering as a career," he said.

Power said the Engineering Perspectives report gives an insight into the evolving engineering profession in Ireland.

"On average, the ratio of men to women in engineering was 9:1 whereas a fifth of all respondents in this survey are women. And of these, half were under the age of 35. We see this as a very positive signal that more women are now choosing a career in engineering," he said.

STEPS programme

Power said Engineers Ireland’s STEPS schools outreach programme is producing results.

Set up in 2000, the STEPS programme aims to get primary and second-level students interested in the science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. The programme partners with the Government’s Discover Science & Engineering initiative.

The report also found that a large proportion of engineers move into general management as their careers progress, with 80pc of respondents saying an engineering qualification was more than just a technical qualification.

"Demand for engineering talent in the Irish market is extremely high, compounded by low unemployment rates relative to other professions. A significant proportion of engineers, whether they stay within the engineering channel or not, rise to senior management," said Graham Morris, managing director, HRM Recruit.

On International Women’s Day, 8 March, Silicon Republic launches Women Invent Tomorrow, a year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Watch this space!

Carmel Doyle
By Carmel Doyle

JournalistCarmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com. She reported on clean tech, innovation and start-ups, covering everything from renewable energy to electric vehicles, the smart grid, nanotech, space exploration, university spin-outs and technology transfer.

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