Addressing the lack of women in engineering by William Finden, Managing Director of Oaklands Global
This Sunday marks International Women in Engineering Day. The aim of this occasion is to raise awareness about the chronic underrepresentation of women in engineering roles. It is also to celebrate those who are making a name for themselves in this traditionally male-dominated field.
This lack of women in the industry is not specific to aviation engineering. In fact, there is a lack of people in aviation engineering in general. But the underrepresentation of women is certainly no exception to the rule either. At the recent A4E Aviation Summit in Brussels earlier this year, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said that 70-80% applications for the roles they advertise for are from men. He freely admits that it should be 50:50 from men and women.
He’s not alone in thinking this either – Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said 90% of applicants for pilot cadets are men. Yet, 80% of applicants for cabin crew are women.
When you consider this even more closely at specific sectors, research has shown that, in 2012, only around 10% of aerospace engineers and computer network architects were women.
So, what is it specifically about engineering which is not appealing to women?
It could be that the general field of engineering does not and has not appealed to women from a young age and that something should be done to change that within the education system. There is a general consensus that more needs to be done in these foundation years in academia to encourage women to consider careers in engineering. This could include activities such as workshops, panel discussions, practical hands-on experience of the industry and innovative projects to break down the barriers which are creating this gender divide.
There are some amazing role models of women who have worked in aviation and aviation engineering who should provide plentiful inspiration for those considering the career path. There was that great photo which went viral on social media recently of the mother and daughter pilot team. And we don’t need to mention Amelia Earhart from trailblazing women in aviation.
There are also countless examples of women who have incredibly rewarding and successful careers in aviation engineering. For example, aircraft bearings inspector Jade Minty began her aviation engineering career after applying for a role through Oaklands Global. She said:
“There seems to be a misunderstanding as to what engineering actually is and what it involves as there are so many different roles.
“My best advice for women wanting to pursue careers in engineering would be to just go and try it out. Speak to as many people as you can to narrow down the field you find the most intriguing and that could be a very rewarding career path for you.”
Here at Oaklands Global, we couldn’t agree more. There are so many brilliant reasons to consider a career in aviation engineering, whether you’re male or female. We look after roles through from entry level positions to give people all the professional grounding they will require right through to more specialist roles for people with experience in the industry under their belts already.
Our specialist recruitment consultants will help you every step of the way so your aviation career really takes off. Browse our latest vacancies here.