Stastics of women in engineering in the UK.

There are a number of data sources that can be quoted

Engineering UK has a fantastic Interactive Dashboard which allows you to interrogate their data. The dashboard is an interactive companion piece to their EngineeringUK briefing 'Gender disparity in engineering'.

Latest statistics.

As reported in March 2022 by Engineering UK:

  • Women make up 16.5% of all engineers, compared to 10.5% reported in 2010
  • This represents a 6 percentage point increase in the proportion of women in the engineering workforce.
  • The actual number of women working in engineering roles also increased from 562,000 in 2010 to 936,000 in 2021
  • There was an overall expansion of the engineering workforce from 5.3 million in 2010 to 5.6 million in 2021.
  • The increase in the number of women in engineering roles continued to rise even when the total number of people working in engineering fell in 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other Useful Reports

The following are other WES pages and external reports that make good reading.

  • WES page on number of Women in Science from Highly Cited reports
  • Download the Lets Women in STEM Statistics 2015 from this link
  • Four Pillars of Economic Justice for Women report from Rosa – the UK fund for women and girls
  • Forward Ladies Annual National Survey Report, 2018

If you know of other reports or statistics not referenced by the WES Statistics document or listed on this page, or you have any query, email, setting subject to WES Statistics.

Previous data.

The following statistics were reported by Engineering UK in 2020:

  • Women make up 14.5% of all engineers
  • This represents a 25.7% increase in women in engineering occupations (compared to a 4.6% in the overall workforce) since 2016.
  • The number of women working in engineering occupations has risen from 721,586 in Q2 of 2016 to 906,785 in Q3 of 2020.
  • This is an increase of 185,199 women in engineering occupations between 2016 and Q3 2020.

The following are the statistics interpreted by WES from the Engineering UK 2018 report:

  • 12.37% of all engineers are women in the UK.(22)
  • 21.80% women work in the engineering sector (Inc. engineers)(22)
  • 46.4% of girls 11-14 would consider a career in engineering, compared to 70.3% of boys(22)
  • 42.0% of girls 14-16 would consider a career in engineering, compared to 66.0% of boys(22)
  • 25.4% of girls 16-18 would consider a career in engineering, compared to 51.9% of boys(22)
  • 22.2% of students starting A Level Physics in 2018 were female.(22)
  • In all STEM A-Levels except Chemistry more girls get A-C grades than boys – including Further Maths, Maths, ICT and Design and Technology.(22)
  • Girls and women make up less than 18% of higher apprentices in engineering and manufacturing, and 7.4% of all engineering apprentices.(22)
  • 79.8% of female engineering students get a First or Upper Second, compared to 74.6% of male students.(22)
  • 60.7% of female engineering graduates enter full time work, compared to 58.8% of all female graduates and 61.9% of male engineering graduates (57.7% of all male graduates).(22)
  • Female engineering graduates are more likely to enter full-time work (61% vs 59%) and less likely to enter part-time work (8% vs 12%) than all female graduates. Female engineering graduates are also less likely to enter part-time work than all male graduates (11%).(22)

A further recent update from the Engineering Council (The Engineering Brand Monitor 2019) is an attitudinal survey of more than 2,500 young people, 1,000 STEM secondary school teachers and 1800 members of the public. The compelling evidence showed STEM outreach can and does work: young people attending a STEM careers activity in the previous 12 months were over 3 times as likely to consider a career in engineering than those who had not.(23)

  • Engineering is highly regarded by STEM secondary school teachers and parents
  • More young people would consider a career in engineering
  • Boys have more positive views of engineering than girls even in primary school
  • Salary ranks as an important factor in young people’s career choices, over and above ‘enjoyment’, ‘job security’ and ‘something that challenges me’
  • Young people who attend STEM Outreach events are more likely to know what engineers do- but only a quarter of those surveyed had been to such an event

For the full report and accompanying data tables, visit the Engineering Brand Monitor 2019 report.

The following is information in a previous WES Statistics document, which is a compilation of both data and statistics from multiple sources (revised in January 2018).

  • 2017 surveys indicated 11% of the engineering workforce was female,(1) a positive change from the 9% in 2015.(2) On the other hand, the number of women registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, Eng Tech dropped from 6% to 5% of total.)(3, 4)
  • The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%, while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%.(5)
  • 15.1% of engineering undergraduates in the UK in 2017 are women.(2) Compared With India: where over 30% of engineering students are women(6)
  • The proportion of young women studying engineering and physics has remained virtually static since 2012.(7)
  • The number of women in computing degree programmes appears to be falling: 14% in 2010 and 13% in 2014.(8)
  • In 2015/16 women accounted for only 6.8% of Engineering apprenticeship starts and 1.9% of Construction Skills starts(9)
  • Only around 20% of A Level physics students are girls, and this has not changed in 25 years.(10)
  • There is now very little gender difference in take up of and achievement in core STEM GCSE subjects.(11)
  • 61% of engineering employers say a recruitment of engineering and technical staff with the right skills is a barrier to business.(12)32% of companies across sectors have reported difficulties recruiting experienced STEM staff, and 20% find it difficult to recruit entrants to STEM.(13)
  • The UK needs to significantly increase the number of people with engineering skills. In 2014, one report put the annual shortfall of STEM skills at 40,000.(14) In 2017, the annual shortfall of the right engineering skills is anywhere between 25,500 (level 3) and up to, 60000 (over level 4 skills).(1)    We need to double, at least, the number of UK based university engineering students.(12)
  • Women and men engineering and technology students express similar levels of intent to work in engineering & technology, but 66.2% of the men and 47.4% of the women 2011 graduates of eng/tech programmes went on to work in engineering and technology.(15)
  • Women Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering: 2% in 2006 and 4% in 2014(16)
  • BUT In a survey of 300 female engineers, 84% were either happy or extremely happy with their career choice.(17)
  • AND Engineering students are second only to medics in securing full-time jobs and earning good salaries(17)
  • Engineering is important to the UK: it contributes 26% of our GDP or(2) £127,580,000,000 to our economy.
  • Enabling women to meet their full potential in work could add as much as $28 trillion to annual GDP in 2025.(18)
  • In 2010 nearly 100,000 female STEM graduates were unemployed or economically inactive.(19)
  • Diversity matters: companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse.(20)
  • Diversity is crucial for innovation: in a global survey, 85% of corporate diversity and talent leaders agreed that “A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation”(21)
  • The National Centre for Universities and Business offer an excellent infographic poster, Talent 2030 Dashboard, which shows progress to their targets for women in engineering. In 2017, one of their targets was met: 50% of Physics GCSE students were girls.

A STEM Returners report on ‘The Hidden Workforce’ sampled 350 returning engineers and found that 63% of engineers returning to the sector believe the biggest barrier to restarting a career is bias in the recruitment process. Access The Hidden Workforce report here.


Discover WES In Action

We have a wide range of events, awards, campaigns, projects, programmes and activities that support and encourage women engineers at all stages of their careers.