Select a topic or subject 25 Percent Less: Gender Paygap for Women in UK Chemical Engineering Jobs

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Although salary increases for women outstripped their male counterparts, female engineering professionals in the UK still earn around 25 percent less by the age of forty.

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Gender pay gap an sissue with chemical engineers
Gender pay gap an sissue with chemical engineers
(Picture: IChemE)

A survey by the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) has revealed the scale of the gender pay gap with women typically earning 25 per cent less by the age of forty for typical engineering environments, including oil, gas, food and drink, energy and pharmaceuticals.

This survey, which began in the 1980s and based on a sample of over 2,500 IChemE members in the UK and Ireland, revealed median salaries for the chemical engineering profession had grown by nearly six percent (5.7%) since 2012 and by 12 per cent since 2010 to £56,000 (€ 68,474).

During the last two years, salaries for people entering the profession, under the age of 25, improved by 5.3 per cent, an increase of about £1,500 or € 1,800. Median pay rates for fully qualified or Chartered Chemical Engineers (MIChemE), continued to grow strongly to £70,000, compared to £40,000 for non-chartered chemical engineers.

Engineering Survey Reveals Scale of UK Gender Pay Gap

However, despite median salary increases for female engineers outstripping their male counterparts – 10.3 per cent versus 7.1 per cent – over the past two years, it is the pay gap between men and women which continues to be the most challenging remuneration issue for the chemical and process industries.

The survey reveals that women are achieving median salaries around 28 per cent less than men (£43,000 versus £60,000) over the course of their careers. This is especially imminent between the ages of 30 to 40 years, when the earning potential of women declines significantly: Median salaries of female engineers typically nearly £16,000, or 25 per cent, less than men of a similar age.

IChemE director of policy and communication, Andy Furlong, said: “The chemical engineering profession has remained largely recession-proof during the economic downturn with above average increases in salaries. This positive picture is likely to remain as the demand for engineers increases, especially to power the UK’s economic recovery.”

“However, the sector does face skill shortages and many talented people, especially women, choose to overlook what is still perceived to be a male dominated profession. IChemE’s 2014 salary survey suggests there is much more to be done to tackle one of the biggest issues – the gender pay gap.”

Attract Potential Talents to Stay Competitive

“To attract and retain all of the best talent, employers need to take another look at how women are supported and rewarded throughout their engineering careers. It’s a difficult and long-standing issue, but without a solution fairness, equality and economic growth will continue to be undermined.”

Last week, IChemE published a ten-point pledge to improve diversity in the chemical engineering profession and gave its support to the Your Life campaign, which aims to increase the number of students, especially women, studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects by 50 per cent over the next three years.