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Engineering remains a profession that is significantly under-represented by women.  Once girls have been persuaded to pursue a career in engineering, how do organisation’s retain women engineers?

We were delighted to be invited to participate in a recent Women & Work event at the University of Warwick and keen to understand more about research conducted into what helps women not only stay, but have flourishing careers in engineering.

Associate Professor, Dr Dulini Fernando, began by telling the select audience about the 40%+ of highly skilled women with engineering degrees leave the engineering professions, citing lack of opportunities for advancement, unclear career paths and difficulties with balancing work with family responsibilities.

keeping highly skilled women

50 highly-skilled women engineers from a selection of FTSE100 companies were interviewed to identify the key factors in retaining them in the profession.

Here are the key findings as to why they stayed in their careers:

  • help and support around maternity leave
  • stretch assignments which developed their confidence and self belief
  • constructive, personalised feedback via informal, regular conversations from their manager
  • inclusive team environments – they could be themselves in their work team
  • role models demonstrating healthy work/life balance.

None of these shout of expensive diversity initiatives, but good managers and leaders creating a healthy and respectful working environment within their work team.


Contact us if you would like a copy of the research, “What Managers Can Do to Keep Women in Engineering?” by Dulini Fernando, Laurie Cohen and Joanne Duberley.

Talk to us about ways in which we can support the retention of highly-skilled professionals in your organisation.

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