Who Says Girls Can’t Be Engineers?

Employers have been banging on about engineering — the shortage of engineers and lack of young people, particularly girls, studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related subjects for a while now. So what is the current picture and do we need to be doing more to get young people excited about STEM subjects?

What the research tells us…

The number of school leavers choosing engineering courses and apprenticeships has not increased enough since last year, according to Engineering UK. This is worrying given engineering in this country needs 87,000 new graduates every year.

60% of all new jobs created need science, technology, engineering and math skills, and research shows that by 2020 the UK will need 1.86 million extra people with engineering skills. To do this we need to double the number of young people taking engineering-related apprenticeships and degrees.

There is a clear problem attracting girls and women into STEM-related jobs and careers; the bare facts are pretty eloquent as only 17% of the UK technology workforce is female.

There’s a huge opportunity to do more to engage with groups to secure our future talent pipeline of engineers.

What needs to be done?

We’ve got to dramatically change girls’ perception of what engineering actually is in order to meet this target.

Research from National Grid shows there’s a huge misconception among parents, that engineering is physical work and it’s poorly paid, neither of which are true.

Another survey of 2,000 young professionals by the City of Guilds states that 23% of women were advised about apprenticeships, compared to 32% of men, which suggests programs in engineering and IT are not as open to women.

The key to success is to make sure young people are made aware of the opportunities so they see these as a real possibility, particularly women in traditionally male-dominated trade environments. It’s about providing role models.

Leaders within engineering need to collaborate to engage and inspire young women/girls (Remove girls?) now so that we succeed in producing enough young talent here in the UK.

Steve Holliday, CEO at National Grid, says, “Engineering is about creating the future, it’s about solving problems that are global problems. There’s nothing more exciting than thinking ‘I’m actually part of something that’s creating a better world.

If you speak to any of the female engineers we have working at National Grid they will tell you what a fantastically interesting, varied and well paid job engineering can be. These are the jobs that will shape the future.”

Change takes time and the skills gap will not close overnight. There has been a real drive to encourage young people to go on to study STEM-related subjects and the message seems to be getting through to many schools.

But the real impact remains to be seen. We need to measure the outcome, monitoring how many young people – men and women – go on to study STEM-related subjects but also how many go into an engineering-related role.

photo credit: Idaho National Laboratory via photopin

Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle.“)

Recently, we’ve seen the rise of the “digital detox” — when individuals temporarily go “off the grid” to reconnect with life apart from technology.

But of course, it’s impossible to escape fully anymore. Technology is now deeply embedded in daily life — its pervasiveness reaches far and wide. And not surprisingly, as innovation continues at full speed, competition for skilled technical talent is more fierce than ever.

How can employers stay ahead of that curve? And what should recruiters do to help lead the way in attracting technology rockstars?

That’s the topic we’re tackling at #TChat Events this week, with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, The Career Hub For Tech, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur.

Sneak Peeks: Facing Tech Recruiting Challenges

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Shravan and Sara about how businesses can recruit effectively in today’s environment. Shravan suggested three success factors in an audio hangout:

And Sara added her perspective as a technology recruiter:

Is your organization feeling the impact of the tech talent shortage? How are you addressing this? What does this trend mean for business innovation, overall? Join us this week to discuss your ideas and opinions with the #TChat crowd.

Publication1Share Your Insights, Win a Smartwatch!

As extra incentive to submit your best ideas, everyone who participates in #TChat Events this week will be eligible to win a cool Pebble Smartwatch from Dice! After the the #TChat Radio Show and #TChat Twitter Dice shared details about how to enter before the Feb 7th deadline. See details now!

#TChat Events: Tech Recruiting In a World of Pervasive Technology

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 29 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT


Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman about critical tech recruiting issues and trends. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 29 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, for a live discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How do tech recruiters stay skilled up and “in the know”?
Q2: Why is finding tech talent so difficult?
Q3: How do recruiters tap into high-tech hot spots to find tech talent?
Q4: How do employers create a culture that attracts skilled tech talent?
Q5: What recruiting technologies appeal to high-tech professionals?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about recruiting issues and trends.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!