Great Expectations Top Manufacturing and Engineering Talent 2030 Creating the Pipeline
Key Points •
Careers advice around manufacturing and engineering is crucial in terms of retaining girls with numerical talent for potential careers in engineering and manufacturing.
The impact of careers advice is higher at a younger age.
Lack of careers advice at GCSE or equivalent not only limits female participation in the sector, but also leads to regrets and possibly lower well-being among those who do not receive such advice.
The sector’s male-centric brand image is putting off many talented women.
Eight out of ten numerically-strong women could be persuaded to enter manufacturing and engineering if the right package of advice, encouragement, brand management and education can be established.
In 2007, fewer than one out of ten engineering professionals were women - the lowest proportion across the EU and far behind Bulgaria and Sweden, with 29% and 26% respectively. The success of women in Europe demonstrates that this has to be a cultural rather than gender-based issue. To test out ways in which to attract women into manufacturing and engineering, the CIHE Task Force on Engineering and Manufacturing1 commissioned OpinionPanel Research to survey six hundred women in their final or penultimate year at university; the table below outlines the three different sample groups. Achieved A grades at GCSE for maths, physics and chemistry (or GCSE equivalent) Group 1 = 200 female students Group 2 = 200 female students Group 3 = 200 female students
p p p
Studied two or more of the following subjects at A level: maths, physics or chemistry
Currently studying maths, physics, chemistry, and/ or an engineering or manufacturing subject at degree level
X p p
X X X
The idea behind this sampling strategy is that these women are highly-numerate and logical and could, if they so wished, translate those talents into manufacturing and engineering careers. But despite their potential, many of these women have not followed the right academic paths for such jobs, and the industry continues to be maledominated. The aim of this research is to understand the current lack of women in engineering and manufacturing, and what can be done to boost numbers in the UK to rival those in Bulgaria and Sweden. 1 Great Expectations; Top Manufacturing and Engineering Talent 2030, Creating the Pipeline, CIHE October 2011
The female students surveyed can be classified into four broad groups based on their disposition toward careers in engineering/manufacturing:
‘Over my dead body’: Nothing would attract them to engineering or manufacturing (despite some being qualiﬁed to do so) ‘Fresh starters’: Could be persuaded to take up a career in manufacturing and engineering, but are not doing the right degrees. Women in this group may have dropped maths, physics, or chemistry after GCSEs or A levels.
‘Switchers’: Qualiﬁed in a relevant degree for the engineering and manufacturing industry and could be persuaded to enter it.
‘Enthusiasts’: Keen to have a career in engineering and manufacturing
The full data set is available at www.cihe.co.uk/femalegraduatesurvey. This report focuses on key results from the research and highlights a number of reasons that may contribute to the dearth of women in the engineering and manufacturing industry.
Love of subject as intrinsic motivation It seems that part of the reason for the lack of female participation in the engineering and manufacturing industry is intrinsic. Many capable women do not follow a path towards an engineering and manufacturing career because they do not enjoy the necessary subjects that lead to such jobs. For example:
Those in the ‘Over my dead body’ group and the GCSE-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ group are significantly less likely than the A level-qualified ‘Fresh starters,’ ‘Switchers’ and ‘Enthusiasts’ to have enjoyed studying maths, physics and/or chemistry at GCSE level – despite achieving an A grade or higher2.
‘Switchers’ are also significantly more likely than A level-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ and the ‘Over my dead body’ group to say that maths, physics and/or chemistry were their favourite subject/s at school3.
2 Q13 To what extent did you enjoy studying maths at GCSE/Standard Grade? Q14 To what extent did you enjoy studying physics and
chemistry at GCSE/Standard Grade?
3 Q16A Why did you decide to study maths, physics, and/or chemistry at A level/Scottish Highers?
When specifically asked why they did not continue to study maths, physics or chemistry at A level, the ‘Over my dead body’ group and the GCSE-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ have very similar reasons for not continuing with the subjects, the top reason being that they are “more interested in other subjects.”4 But despite sharing their top reasons for not continuing with maths, physics or chemistry at A level, there are significant differences between the two. These are illustrated in the table below, in which significant differences are highlighted in blue. However, when students were asked to select the most influential reason for not continuing with these subjects, the significant differences disappear5. ‘Over my dead body’
GCSE-qualified ‘Fresh starters’
Want to enter career area that doesn’t require maths, physics and/or chemistry
Not interested in the careers that maths, physics and/ or chemistry students go into
Didn’t enjoy studying maths, physics and/or chemistry at GCSE/Standard Grade 43%
Lack of information about careers that would require maths, physics and/or chemistry
More interested in other subjects
It’s interesting to note that despite their similarities, GCSE-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ are significantly more likely than those in the ‘Over my dead body’ group to have chosen not to study Maths Physics or Chemistry at A level because of a “lack of information about careers that would require maths, physics and/or chemistry”. Furthermore, when asked why they did not continue to study maths, physics or chemistry at degree level6, A level-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ were significantly more likely than those in the ‘Over my dead body’ group to say that it was because of a “lack of information about careers that would require maths, physics, chemistry and/or engineering” (2% vs. 19%). These findings highlight the importance of careers advice – more on this below. 4 Q15A Why didn’t you choose to study any A levels/Scottish Highers in maths, physics or chemistry? 5 Q15B And which of the answers you selected was the most influential in why you decided not to study maths, physics or chemistry? 6 Q17A Why didn’t you choose to study maths, physics, chemistry or engineering at degree level?
Importance of careers advice When ‘Fresh starters’ who dropped maths, physics or chemistry after GCSE were asked what would have encouraged them to continue with these subjects at A level7, the top two responses were “better understanding of career areas I could have entered with those subjects” (45%) and “better understanding of career areas I would be prevented from entering without those subjects” (37%). Those who would not choose a career in manufacturing and engineering were most likely to say that nothing would have encouraged them, followed by these two answers. Careers advice around manufacturing and engineering is therefore crucial during the GCSE period in terms of retaining girls with potential.
Possible lack of encouragement/careers advice for middle achievers The issue of defining potential is also controversial; amongst ‘Fresh starters’ who dropped maths, physics or chemistry after GCSE, as UCAS points decreased, the proportion saying a better understanding of careers would have encouraged them to continue studying maths, physics and/or chemistry increased. Considering all those who didn’t pursue these subjects post-GCSE, it was the ‘middle achievers’ in terms of UCAS points most in need of this additional careers support as they were significantly more likely than high achievers to say a “better understanding of career areas I could have entered with those subjects” would have encouraged them to continue studying these subjects. A similar pattern, though not as extreme, is seen when students are asked what would have encouraged them to continue studying maths, physics and/or chemistry at degree level8. This begs the question of whether all girls who show potential receive attention and advice about future careers, or whether it is only the girls who are seen as real “stars” that get the encouragement and support that they need to pursue the subjects in question.
Timing of careers advice is key Amongst all those who dropped maths, physics or chemistry after GCSE, those who did not receive any careers advice were twice as likely as those who did to say that a better understanding of careers options would have encouraged them to continue the subjects at A level. These differences disappear at A level (i.e. there are no significant differences in terms of careers advice amongst those who dropped maths, physics or chemistry at A level). It thus seems the impact of careers advice is higher at a younger age, i.e. before or while decisions about A level subjects are taken. This issue arises again when students who did not continue with maths, physics or chemistry9 after GCSE are asked how they feel about this decision. Those who dropped these subjects after GCSE and who received careers advice are significantly happier with their decision than those who did not receive careers advice (87% vs. 61%). Those who did not have careers advice are also significantly more likely to say they wish they had considered maths, physics are chemistry a bit more (31% vs. 13%). This distinction disappears when students who dropped these subjects after A level are asked whether they are happy with their decision10. It thus appears that lack of careers advice at GCSE level not only limits female participation in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, but also leads to regrets and possibly lower well-being amongst those who did not receive advice.
7 Q18 What would have encouraged you to continue studying maths, physics and/or chemistry at A level/Scottish Highers? 8 Q19 What would have encouraged you to continue studying maths, physics, chemistry and/or engineering at degree level? 9 Q37 On reflection, which of the following statements best describes how you currently feel about your decision not to study maths, physics, and/or chemistry beyond GCSE/Standard Grade? 10 Q38 On reflection, which of the following statements best describes how you currently feel about your decision not to study maths, physics, chemistry and/or engineering at degree level?
Awareness that maths and science are important for university/career plans Whilst the top reason for choosing to continue with maths, physics and/or chemistry at A level amongst ‘Switchers’ and ‘Enthusiasts’ is that they enjoyed the subject/s, A level-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ and ‘Over my dead body’ respondents are much more pragmatic11. Their top reason for continuing with these subjects is that they knew they’d need them for their future university/career plans – but is this evidence that they knew what career they wanted, or evidence that they got good advice?
Where are the talented women going instead? Students were asked which industries they are most interested in pursuing a career in after graduating12. The most popular industries are shown below:
• • •
Education (30%) Health/ Nursing (27%) Media/ New Media/ Creative (22%)
• • •
Science (46%) Education (28%) Banking and Finance (27%)
• • •
Engineering and Manufacturing (100%) Science (55%) Oil/ gas/ alternative energy (28%)
11 Q16A Why did you decide to study maths, physics, and/or chemistry at A level/Scottish Highers? Q16B And which of the answers you selected was the most influential in why you decided to study maths, physics or chemistry at A level/Scottish Highers? 12 Q21 Which industries are you most interested in starting a career in after graduating?
‘Fresh starters’, i.e. women who could be persuaded to enter engineering or manufacturing but are not qualified, are most likely to enter non-technical jobs. ‘Switchers’, who are qualified and could be persuaded, aim to enter other science-related fields, but it seems many will be lost to banking and finance.
Perceptions of the Engineering and Manufacturing Sector Respondents were asked to sum up the engineering and manufacturing industry as best they could with the words we provided13. It’s probably not surprising that ‘Enthusiasts’, who are qualified and interested in engineering and manufacturing, see the industry in a more favourable light, choosing words such as “useful”, “innovative”, “intellectual” and “exciting”, and not choosing words like “unrewarding”. ‘Switchers’ and ‘Fresh starters’ were most likely to say “male-centric” followed by “useful” and “Innovative”, suggesting that shaking off the male-dominated image and creating female role models could help. ‘Fresh starters’, however, were as likely to use the words “dull” and “physical” as “innovative”. It thus seems as though the sector’s image is putting off many talented women who might be interested in entering, or persuadable to enter, this sector.
Male-centric Dull Physical Dirty/Polluting Unrewarding Dangerous Environmentally friendly Exciting Profitable/lucrative Intellectual Innovative Useful
Enthusiasts Switchers Fresh starters Over my dead body
8 13 Q24 Which three terms from the list below most reflect your view of the engineering and manufacturing sector?
The role of careers advice in shaping perceptions Those who received careers advice had a much more favourable view of the sector. The former were significantly more likely to choose the words “useful” (61% vs. 40%) and “innovative” (54% vs. 38%), and significantly less likely to choose “male-centric” (43% vs. 63%), “dull” (23% vs. 35%) or “physical” (16% vs. 27%). Respondents were also asked to what extent they agree with the statements about engineering and manufacturing14. The results are shown below (net of agree strongly and agree slightly); the figures highlighted in blue are significantly greater than those highlighted in grey.
Over my dead body
GCSE qualified Fresh starters
A level qualified Fresh starters
Jobs in engineering and manufacturing are highly regarded within society
Jobs in engineering or manufacturing are predominantly office based
Jobs in engineering or manufacturing require you to get your hands dirty
Jobs in engineering or manufacturing require skills in thinking and creativity
It seems as though some concepts need to be tackled in order to attract more of the persuadable respondents to continue studying maths, physics or chemistry at A level and degree level. When asked what would encourage them to consider a career in engineering or manufacturing15, it’s interesting to note that having “more females working in engineering and manufacturing” is significantly more important to GCSE-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ (54%) than A level-qualified ‘Fresh starters’ (38%) and ‘Switchers’ (35%). Also, those who did not get career advice are significantly more likely to say they’d be encouraged by: 1. “knowing you could get a salary of 80K+” (52% vs. 35%) 2. “more females working in engineering & manufacturing” (35% vs. 17%). 14 Q25 To what extent do you agree with the following statements? 15 Q26 What would encourage you to consider a career in engineering or manufacturing?
Conclusions While it should be acknowledged that some girls are simply more enthusiastic about maths, physics and/or chemistry and are naturally inclined to careers in engineering and manufacturing, many are either excluding themselves or – more importantly – lack sufficient encouragement and advice. Some girls who study maths, physics and/or chemistry at GCSE already have their hearts set on other careers including those who attend schools where these subjects are compulsory. It is thus likely that there’s a small core of girls with the right skills at GCSE level but who will never enter the sector. However, and taking into account those who advance to higher qualifications in maths, physics and/or chemistry, this ‘core’ of rejectors is small. It accounts for only a fifth all respondents in this study, indicating that in addition to those enthusiastic about the sector, a further 66% could potentially be enticed into entering the sector. We found that the key barriers faced by the engineering and manufacturing sector in recruiting larger numbers of women centre on lack of careers advice and negative perceptions of the sector. Specifically, careers advice appears to be the key barrier, and it helps to shape perceptions, as follows:
Lack of careers advice at crucial junctures, in particular around GCSE level. Careers advice received later, i.e. university application stage, is not likely to be as effective as earlier careers advice.
Careers advice seems to be focused on potential “stars”, at the expense of less academically talented girls who nevertheless would have potential in the sector.
The sector is seen in a negative light by all except the most enthusiastic, and has a particular problem with being perceived as ‘male dominated’ and ‘dull’.
Careers advice helps to shape perceptions – those who receive advice about careers in engineering and manufacturing see the sector in a more positive light.
CIHE Task Force Membership Chairs Mr Richard Greenhalgh
Professor Nigel Thrift
University of Warwick
Mr Robert Booker
Executive Vice President Human Resources
Professor Simon Bradley
EADS Innovation Works
Mr Allan Cook
Dr David Docherty
Sir Ian Gibson
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc
Mr Nick Winser
Mr Simon Wright
Head of Engineering
BAE Systems Academic Members
Professor Dame Ann Dowling Head of Engineering
University of Cambridge
Professor Sir Mike Gregory
Head of the Manufacturing and Management Division
University of Cambridge
Professor Matthew Harrison
Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Joe McGeehan
Director, Centre for Communications Research
University of Bristol
Wider Task Force members Mr Donald Campbell Brown
North Sea Region Engineering Authority
BP Exploration Operating Company Limited
Mr Richard Earp
Education & Skills Manager
Professor Clifford Friend
Deputy Vice Chancellor
Mr Ian Foddering
Technical Sales Director
Professor Alison Halstead
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching Innovation Aston University
Ms Michelle Hepden -Dyer
Group People Development & Talent Director
Mr Dave Hogan
Manager of Engineering - Programmes & Support
Dr Anil Kumar
Director, Education and Research
Ms Luci Love
HR Project Manager
Mr Andy Palmer
Head of Skills Development
Dr Graeme Reid
Head of Research Funding
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
Dr Andreas Tsiotsias
Technical Leader - Industrial Sector, Northeast Europe
IBM Sales & Distribution
Dr John Wallace
Industry Liaison Manager
Project Management Ms Sally Devine
Task Force Coordinator
Ms Stephanie Scott-Davies
External Affairs Manager
Ms Liz Walkley
Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) Studio 11, Tiger House, Burton Street, London, WC1H 9BY w. www.cihe.co.uk e. email@example.com t. +44 (0)207 383 7667 f. +44 (0)207 383 3433
ÂŠ CIHE October 2011 ISBN 1 874223 93 9
Report by Emma Woodwark, Project Manager, and Mia Lorenz, Associate Director, OpinionPanel Design by Stephanie Scott-Davies, External Affairs Manager, CIHE. Illustrations by www.rachaeldinnageillustration.tumblr.com.
Survey Summary Top Manufacturing and Engineering Talent 2030 Creating the Pipeline Sponsored by: 1 2 Key Points Studied two or more of the f...