STEM Careers for Girls… and why not?

STEM careers for girls

Youth Employment UK spoke with Helen Wollaston Director of WISE, a CIC set up to promote career opportunities in STEM for girls.  When we asked Helen what she felt the top barriers were to girls choosing STEM careers. She said:

  1. Stereotyping – there still there seems to be this idea that some jobs are for girls and some for boys. Coupled with this is the lack of women STEM role models; too few girls know a woman in a STEM career.
  2. Science and Maths based subjects have traditionally been taught in a less creative way, with few links to the huge range of potential STEM careers.
  3. There is a lack of STEM careers information, with teachers/parents favouring the traditional Vet, Doctor, Nurse Occupations. The variety and diversity of careers in STEM is not highlighted and young people are not excited by its potential.

The WISE Campaign works with employers and schools to promote opportunities for girls. They have a host of resources and support services available on their website.

Reasons to consider a career in STEM

    • As there are still too few women in STEM careers you will stand out from the crowd and this could bring favour to your job applications
    • The UK is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer, engineering turnover is around £800 billion per year, so it’s a sustainable career choice
    • Careers in STEM are varied and can make a huge difference to the lives of people (Technology, Renewables, Health etc)
    • STEM Careers bring great prospects – Salary, Travel, Promotion, Personal Development

Key facts about STEM careers in the UK

      • 13 %of all those working in occupations classed as STEM (including health occupations) are women (693,000)
      • The percentages of Engineering and ICT professionals who are female fell by 1.4 and 0.6 percentage points respectively since 2008
      • Nearly 1 in 5 of STEM companies in the FTSE 100 have no women on their Board
      • Just over 1 in 10 (11%) of STEM business owners are women, compared to 1 in 3 (33%)who are owners of non-STEM businesses
      • The number of females obtaining Engineering and Technology degrees increased by 21%between 2008 and 2011.The number of females obtaining degrees in Mathematical Sciences increased by 27%in the same  However, the increase was greater for males than females.


Apprenticeship programme starts by gender (2011/2012) Male Female
Construction 13,330 230
Electro-technical 4,910 60
Engineering 12,880 400
IT & Telecoms Prof (inc ICT) 10,400 1,200
Rail, Transport, Engineering 2,350 20
Vehicle, Maintenance & Repair 8,020 130


Thanks to WISE for sharing this information.

What do you think? Have these figures changed? Is the gender gap for girls shrinking? Get in touch with @YEUK2012 on Twitter and share your experience!

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