Public considers engineering a ‘male profession’, says IMechE

The majority of the public still consider engineering as a ‘male’ profession, according to a new survey from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

According to the survey, 66 per cent of the public associate the term ‘engineer’ more with men, with just over a quarter (27 per cent) saying they associated the term equally with men and women.

Poll results show that 40 per cent of the public think the current image of engineering is deterring women from the profession, compared with 21 per cent saying it is deterring both men and women.

The findings coincide with the appointment of the Institution’s new president Group Captain Mark Hunt, who intends to encourage greater diversity during his tenure.

‘I want to use my year as President to demonstrate what engineers have to offer society, and to broaden public awareness of how engineers are improving the world we live in,’ he said in a statement. ‘I also want to help galvanise action to inspire the next generation of engineering innovators and work hard to encourage more diversity in the industry.

‘Women still make up a worrying low proportion of the engineering workforce, at six per cent, and I am determined to help break down the stereotypes that are putting women off joining this vibrant and exciting profession.

‘My challenge to every engineer is to ask themselves what they have done today to improve society and then to tell someone about it. We need to be proud of our engineering achievements.’

Group Captain Hunt has succeeded Patrick Kniveton, head of engineering improvement at Rolls-Royce Marine Power, who became President in 2013.