According to a survey of 4,000 girls, young women, parents and teachers, published by Accenture, there is a perception that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers are better suited to boys.
Half (51 per cent) of the teachers and 43 per cent of the parents surveyed believe this perception helps explain the low uptake of STEM subjects by girls.
In response to the survey, Naomi Climer, IET president-elect, said: “Engineering is a hugely exciting and diverse career with the opportunity to do something life- or world-changing but the lack of women in the sector is a huge problem, contributing to skills shortages which damage the economy.
“The difficulty in attracting women into engineering is down to a combination of many things, including the image of engineers within the UK, careers advice girls are given in schools and the way that companies with engineering roles advertise their opportunities.”
Ms Climer added: “If we continue to fail to attract women into engineering, the UK will be in a significantly weakened position to find the 1.82 million engineers it is estimated the country will need by 2022. Women are missing out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities and industry is missing out on the innovation that comes with greater diversity in the workforce.”
Research published by the IET in March 2015 as part of its Engineer a Better World campaign, revealed that only 7 per cent of parents feel that engineering would appeal to their daughters as a career.