Engineering gender pay gap smaller than average

A new report shows the gender pay gap in engineering roles is smaller than average, but that more works needs to be done to close it, particularly with regard to recruitment and senior roles.

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The gender pay gap in the engineering profession is around two thirds the UK employee average, according to a new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The report shows the mean and median pay gap for engineers in the sample analysed by the Academy are 10.8% and 11.4% respectively.

Although the gap is less than feared, the report finds that closing it will take concerted effort within the engineering profession, particularly with regard to recruitment where the report says progress is “disappointingly slow”.

The report recommends several actions to address the pay gap, with the most effective including implementing transparent pay structures and grades, reviewing promotion criteria and introducing flexible working options for senior roles.

The report is based on an analysis by WISE of the pay data of nearly 42,000 engineers working in the UK. The data was voluntarily provided by 25 engineering organisations of different sizes and from different sectors and excludes non-engineering roles to help identify issues and challenges specific to the profession.

The report confirms that under-representation of women in senior roles – rather than unequal pay – is the single largest cause of the gender pay gap for engineers. The factors that most contributed to pay variance for engineers in the sample included career level (40%), type of employer (12%), age (6%) and the annual revenue of the employer (5%). Just 9% of engineers in the top career grade in the sample were female and women accounted for only 8% of those in the upper pay quartile.

Jonathan Lyle, Chair of the Academy’s Closing the gender pay gap Steering Group, said: “Reducing both gender and race inequality is key to addressing the damaging shortage of engineering skills in the UK economy. Whilst we are making some modest progress in attracting more girls and women into engineering, our research shows that there remains much to be done to achieve gender equality in engineering careers.

“The good news is that there are well proven steps that business leaders can and should take to improve how women engineers progress within their companies into more senior, more influential, more fulfilling, better rewarded roles. The best, most inclusive, businesses are doing this well, critically underpinning their business success. But others make excuses about their gender pay gap, risking losing business and talent.”

Helen Wollaston, WISE Chief Executive, said: “This isn’t really about pay, and it isn’t really about women. It’s about good business. Our research found that a credible action plan to address the underlying causes of the gender pay gap helps recruit the best people, engage and motivate your employees and gives a competitive edge when bidding for contracts from public sector clients. The recommendations are relevant to engineering employers of all sizes, whether or not they have to publish a gender pay gap report.”

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