The subject of women in engineering

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I've been doing extensive studies on the subject of women in engineering over the last few weeks. I was looking for the biggest problem that women engineers who have a fruitful career in this field face, as well as others who have left the field of engineering to seek other professions. Furthermore, I studied the various styles and numbers of engineering roles that are currently vacant. In addition, I performed research on the wages of female engineers and male engineers in the same working area. The research that I have conducted has been based on engineering sites that offer comprehensive information on all engineering things including female engineers. The study has also included some information from sites that report on the trends in various career fields. My research also included the information gathered from an interview with one of the top female engineers in the municipality. The interview was important as it was first hand information that helped in confirming some of the things that I had researched earlier in particular issues that face female engineers.

Survey Results

Engineering positions

Across the United States, engineering positions that are available for men are also applicable for female engineers. Thus, there should not be preferred engineering jobs that are set for females and others for men. However, there exists bias in employment in that some organizations are reluctant to offer female engineers job opportunities which should not be the case. Nonetheless, a search for current available engineering jobs using Career Builder reveals that there are 7654 jobs. The current jobs that are available range from construction, civil, mechanical, management, systems security, database, transportation, and production engineering among others. Moreover, these jobs are full time, part time, contractors, interns, and seasonal opportunities (Career Builder, 2017). According to Wright, (2014) in the United States, the metropolitan area which is mostly concentrated with engineers is Huntsville, Alabama. This is because it is the home to NASA flight center in addition to other military and aerospace establishments. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Huntsville has 5.1 times more engineers than the country’s per capita average. Moreover, the fastest growing engineering fields are petroleum and industrial engineers. Moreover, the state with the highest concentration of jobs is the District of Colombia with 2,690 engineering jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).

Brown (2016) states that the engineering job market from 2015 has experienced low levels of growth and this might continue. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates optimism in the growth rate of petroleum engineers, in the gas and oil industry which is approximated to be about 10 percent between 2014 and 2024. Nonetheless, this rate will be largely affected by the changes in oil prices (Brown, 2016). Other engineering fields according to the BLS are expected to experience an average growth. For instance, BLS estimates biomedical engineering to growth by 23.1 percent, environmental engineering by 12.4 percent, marine engineering and naval architecture by 9 percent, civil engineering by 8.4 percent, mining and geological engineering by 6.4 percent, and finally mechanical engineering by 5.3 percent.

Salaries

According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the rise of the manufacturing sector and the economy has often translated to better pay packages for engineers (Sethi, 2012). Experience and the level of education mainly determine salaries in the field of engineering (Name, 2017). Individuals working full time and hold doctoral degrees earn high income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the mean annual wage in the field of engineering is $ 99,250 while the annual medial estimate is $ 97,300. District of Colombia tops as the top paying state with an annual mean of $ 126,730. Nevertheless, despite women engineers only being 14%, most receive lower pay compared to men engineers (ASME). There is a huge wage disparity in the engineering field between women and men in the United States and globally. The median salaries for men in the fields of engineering are 32% higher than that of women. Specifically, in the United States, the median income of male engineers is $96,000 more than that of female engineers of $76,984 (Sethi, 2012). The American Society of Mechanical Engineers notes that while pay improvements to close the disparity have been experienced in the last two decades, there is still a huge difference that is noticeable in compensation of women and men engineers.

Issues facing women engineers

In the past decade, much efforts have been geared towards getting girls to study technology, science, math, and engineering. Certainly, there has been an increase in the number of girls graduating from these programs including engineering. However, Adams (2014) reports that nearly 40 percent of females who graduate in the engineering field never either pursue the career or quit the profession. Of the 38 percent women who leave the profession after a brief spell pursuing the career, 30 percent cited the reason for leaving to be the organizational climate that is characterized by co-workers and supervisors that are non-supportive (Adams, 2014). Moreover, almost half of those who left was because of working conditions such as low salary, lack of career advancement opportunities, and frequent travel. In four female engineers, one leaves the profession after attaining the age of 30 compared to one in 10 male engineers. The lack of a culture of inclusiveness within organizations and the existence of stereotypes towards women engineers increase the hurdles they have to undergo. Name (2017) summarizes that the reason why female engineers leave the profession is because they lack job satisfaction, workplace discrimination, and inflexible work schedules.

Implication of findings

The findings of my research reveal that there is a promising future for male engineers irrespective of the field of entry. In the last few years, the job market has experienced a steady growth across the various engineering fields. Therefore, this gives me a wide range of options to choose from which will be guided by the more knowledge I gain, the trends in the job market and the career advice received from various quarters. It is clear from the findings that women engineers are at a disadvantage to men in a range of issues. The prevalent stereotyping provides fresh male graduates with an opportunity to excel in an engineering field of their choice. This is not to say that I support the stereotyping that the engineering industry presents to women engineers. Nonetheless, the findings shows that a female engineer graduate is less likely to be absorbed into job market compared to a male graduate. It is the responsibility of the federal and state governments to do more in having the disparities reduced to the minimum. Until then, as a male engineering student I stand a more chance to be employed in an engineering field of my choice than female students do.

When doing the research, I found out that the most lucrative engineering fields currently in the United States that will experience high growth rate in the next decade are petroleum engineering, biomedical engineering, and environmental engineering. Moreover, the research showed that working in military related engineering fields presents a perfect opportunity of being successful. Working as a government employed engineer is more fulfilling than working in private institutions. I feel that after conducting the research I have more knowledge related to the engineering job market and it will take time before I settle on the career job I will undertake.

The salaries in various engineering fields are very lucrative especially for male engineers. However, female engineers are being paid less salaries despite their workload and this has informed the decision of many to leave the profession. Male engineers enjoy better compensation than female engineers do and I will not have to be worried about less salary. Moreover, the working conditions for male engineers are no dissatisfying compared to female engineers. Generally, being a dedicated male engineering student like myself looks forward to having a long-lasting and successful career in any engineering field.

Conclusion and recommendation

In conclusion, after conducting the research, I am more motivated to work hard in my current studies and graduate at the end of the study period. I have gained a wide range of knowledge which I will use with learning in upcoming classes to make an informed decision on the engineering field which I wish to pursue a career. I believe that this research came at the right time in my studies as it has provided an insight on issues of women in engineering as well as the general trends in the market. My intentions are that I will further my studies up to the highest level available of the engineering field that I will have chosen.

On women engineering, I recommend that state and federal governments should do more to reduce the disparity between male and female engineers especially on compensation. On the other hand, organizations should work towards building a more inclusive culture that accommodates the needs of both male and female engineers. This will encourage many young girls to pursue engineering courses and positively contribute to the society.

Bibliography

Adams, R. (2014, August 12). 40 Percent Of Female Engineers Are Leaving The Field. This Might Be Why. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/female-engineers_n_5668504.html

Brown, M. (2016, January 15). Engineering Job Market Growth is Slow Entering 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/JobArticles/ArticleID/11315/Engineering-Job-Market-Growth-is-Slow-Entering-2016.aspx

Career Builder. (2017). Jobs. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Career Builder.com: http://www.careerbuilder.com/jobs?pay=&cat1=JN004&cb_apply=

Name. (2016). Female Engineer. Personal Interview. April, 2016

Sethi, C. (2012, July). Engineering Salaries on the Rise. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from American Society of Mechanical Engineers,: https://www.asme.org/career-education/articles/early-career-engineers/engineering-salaries-on-the-rise

Statistics, B. o. (2016). Occupational Employment and Wages. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Bls.Gov: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172199.htm

Wright, J. (2014, September 12). The Most In-Demand (And Aging) Engineering Jobs. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emsi/2014/09/12/the-most-in-demand-and-oldest-engineering-jobs/#58f5af121e37

December 21, 2022
Category:

Education Science

Subject area:

Research Woman Engineering

Number of pages

6

Number of words

1617

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