Spotlight on... Women accessing careers in engineering

“Attitudes and perceptions take time to change making it all the more important that the government takes action now - both to use the upcoming skills system reforms and to bring in additional measures to support more women into engineering.”

If the UK is to achieve higher levels of home-grown skills in the sector, a post-Brexit aspiration, it will be the more important for policymakers, education providers and employers to work together in a focussed way to tackle the key causes of the skills gap. 

Occupational segregation - that is the tendency of men and women to be disproportionately employed in different occupations - is a major contributor to determining the wages of men and women. Occupations can be distinguished by gender for many different reasons, from social norms to personal preferences (which can also be grounded in social norms) to discrimination by employers. In the UK, women tend to cluster in the ‘5 Cs’ – cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical work – men tend occupy a wider range of occupations.

The Skills Commission inquiry draws on oral and written evidence as well as a literary review to look at how this issue can be tackled, and was co-chaired by Members of Parliament from across the House Lucy Allan, Preet Kaur Gill, as well as academic sector expert Professor Sandra McNally Professor of Economics, University of Surrey; and Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research Performance.