The days of a male-dominated design and construction industry are coming to an end. As more women enter the workforce, a larger number are choosing a career in engineering.
Maintaining this momentum and securing opportunities for female engineers is a key focus for the industry moving forward.
UNSW implements initiatives to boost female enrolments
In order to build a more equal workplace, getting women involved in the industry needs to start as early as possible. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is taking this into account by creating a number of new schemes to increase the number of female enrolments. These include award programmes better high school engagement through events and engineering camps.
Bringing in a better balance will help the design and construction industry as a whole.
As Manager of the Women in Engineering Initiative Alexandra Bannigan explained, bringing in a better balance will help thedesign and construction industry as a whole.
"There may be young women in high school right now who could become some of the best engineers ever born - but if they don't know about the profession and what it offers, they'll never realise that potential," she said.
"If we succeed, it's a win for them as individuals, it's a win for us as a society and it's a win for the engineering profession."
The major objective for the program is to increase the proportion of female students to 30 per cent by 2020.
Are we assisting in career progression?
Maintaining a fair playing field is more than just filling in quotas. Recent data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found that, while the pay gap between men and women is shrinking, male workers earn $27,000 more per year on average than female employees.
A major factor in this is the lack of female senior managers. Out of all the CEOs in Australia, 15.4 per cent are female and women also only hold 27.4 per cent of key management personnel roles. However, more firms are putting equality strategies in place, which the WGEA said was a hopeful sign for future progression.
Businesses need to take individual reasonability to ensure they are addressing any structural or cultural barriers to progression for women.
For female engineers, one important way to leverage skills and experience is to explore other lesser-known career paths. As NSW MP and engineer Mehreen Faruqi stated at a recent Engineers Australia event, there are plenty of opportunities for engineers to contribute in the political arena, to solve issues and create innovative solutions for challenges faced by many groups.
If your business needs some more gender diversity, Design and Construct can help create a recruitment strategy that ensures you are keeping an open door for all the right people.