A new research report exploring the number, characteristics and outcomes of engineering and technology students in higher education in the UK has recently been released by EngineeringUK.
The ‘Engineering in higher education’ report has revealed that 6.1% of all first-degree undergraduates are studying engineering and technology in their first year of university, and that the number of engineering and technology students has risen by 14% since 2009/10 when taking into account undergraduates in all years of study as well as postgraduates.
However, in terms of diversity of students, only 18.5% of undergraduates were female, an issue which is mirrored across the engineering and technology workforce, and the majority of students (66.1%) were white. The report also reveals a lack of diversity in terms of disability and social mobility.
Dr Claudia Mollidor, Head of Research & Evaluation at EngineeringUK comments:
“As with all pathways into engineering and technology careers, it’s really important to understand the numbers and characteristics of students coming through the higher education route.
“Our report highlights a concerning lack of diversity among students, particularly the underrepresentation of women. If the UK is going to have a successful and thriving engineering and technology sector, it’s clear we need to do much more to ensure studying engineering and tech appeals to young people from all backgrounds.”
The report has also broken down the numbers and characteristics of students within the seven main specialisms of engineering, which include mechanical engineering (22.5%), electrical and electronic engineering (15.8%), and civil engineering (13.7%).
“Interestingly, the number and diversity of students does differ substantially among these specialisms”, comments Dr Mollidor. “We encourage the sector to pay particular attention to the data breakdown for their area, and consider the impact this might have on its workforce size and what they can do to improve representation.”
The full report – ‘Engineering in higher education’ is available to download for free here.