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The Rise of Women in Engineering in 2014

November 19th, 2014

Traditionally a male-dominated field, the world of engineering continues to see more women become active in the discipline and 2014 was no exception. From Debbie Sterling’s GoldieBlox to Ayah Bdeir and her Lego-like electronics modules, LittleBits, women are succeeding in inspiring girls to become interested in engineering.

When girls inspired by engineering at an early age become old enough to join the workforce, these new engineers honed on GoldieBlox and LittleBits hopefully won’t feel alone. With that said, there is still more work to be done to bring more women into the engineering field. Let’s take a closer look at how to improve the number of women in engineering.

California State University Northridge helping to develop Women Engineers

California State University Northridge (CSUN) suffers from an acute lack of females in their engineering and computer science schools. Only 12.3 percent of students enrolled in those programs were women as of the Fall of 2013. CSUN’s Bonita J. Campbell Endowment for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) was created with the hope to raise that percentage.

A professional civil engineer, Lilly Shraibati, serves on the advisory board for WISE. She was initially dissuaded from entering the field by her engineer uncles. “Everyone should follow their dreams without worrying whether it’s appropriate,” she countered.

STEM Education remains Vital in Attracting Females to Engineering

One of WISE’s main goals is to encourage more female students to take STEM classes in school; hoping that this engenders the inspiration to ultimately choose engineering as a profession. Finding peers is another key in keeping female students enrolled in engineering classes.

Courtney Yoshimoto, president of CSUN’s Society of Women Engineers club, notes the lack of peers in her program. “Being in school as an engineer, there’s not a lot of girls in your class,” she said. “It’s hard to find study groups and peers that are there to help you out, that’s what I feel has been the hardest part.”

If you are a female looking to enter the engineering field, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies on the west coast, and a woman-owned company, the Talley Group offers the unique insights to help you find a rewarding career in engineering — no matter your gender. Contact them today!

Attract and Retain Women | Oil and Gas Engineers in Seattle

May 7th, 2014

As current engineers from the Baby Boomer generation prepare to retire from the oil and gas industries, combined with new drilling and extraction initiatives, the demand for engineering expertise continues to grow. Attracting women to work in this lucrative industry is an important factor in solving this acute need for engineering talent. Future oil and gas projects remain at risk without a diverse pool of engineers to support this work.

Closing the Gender Gap in Oil and Gas Engineering

Training women engineers starts in the classroom, both in college and at the high school level. A focus on STEM-related disciplines goes a long way in inspiring women to explore an engineering career more closely. For those already in the workforce — in another engineering or technical field — cross-training helps to expose a potential new worker to the unique aspects of oil and gas engineering.

Mentorship, especially from another female engineer if possible, is also important in making newly-minted women engineers feel comfortable on the job — especially if it is actually in the field at an extraction site. A recent study revealed that a strong majority of female engineers in the oil and gas industry feel welcome and would recommend a career in this engineering discipline to other women.

95 percent of those surveyed felt that mentorship helped them in their career. With only 42 percent actively involved in mentoring, companies in this sector need to take an active role in fostering mentorship programs at their workplaces.

Recognizing Women Engineers

The survey also noted that 45 percent of female engineers in oil and gas feel that they don’t receive the same recognition as their male counterparts. This issue, combined with a lower average salary for women, must be dealt with to successfully attract and retain women engineers to the world of oil and gas.

If you are interested in exploring a career in the oil and gas industry, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As a women-owned company and one of the top engineering staffing firms in the Seattle area — and a great source for Seattle engineering jobs — they provide the insight and expertise to ensure your career needs are met. Make it a point to schedule some time with them today!

Drafting Engineering Talent – is there a Gender Imbalance?

June 7th, 2013

Studies show that men hold 75 percent of all science and engineering jobs. Additionally, those men make on average 14 cents more per hour than their female counterparts. In the United States, this gender gap also applies to science in the schools; a 2009 science exam given to 15-years old showed females outperforming males in many countries with the notable exception of the U.S.

It is obvious a gender imbalance in the world of engineering exists, but thankfully some companies are taking innovative steps to mitigate the issue. Extra steps must be taken to attract females to work in a largely male-dominated profession.

Etsy’s Unique Problem with Gender Imbalance

The online arts and crafts marketplace, Etsy, saw a unique problem with gender imbalance. Nearly 80 percent of its customers were female, while 87 percent of their engineering staff was of the opposite sex. The company wanted to fix this issue, but how?

First off, instead of recruiting high-end female engineering talent to the company, they began a program to develop their own junior engineers into superior engineers. One artifact of this effort is that they started to get calls from more experienced engineers — female and male — wanting to work for Etsy.

The company also co-sponsored a Hacker School session for women held at Etsy’s office. This high-end coding class also helped to raise awareness that Etsy wanted a more gender-balanced engineering staff, and was willing to put their money behind the issue.

Their Efforts saw a Tangible Return

In the two years since Etsy began their program Etsy went from 13 percent female engineers to a ratio a little over 18 percent, an improvement of around five percent. While women are still in the minority, the company showed a 500 percent increase in the actual number of female engineers. This has earned Etsy accolades throughout the industry, leading to more female senior hires at the company.

If you are a female engineer looking to raise the level of your career, consider talking to the crew at The Talley Group. As one of the leading engineering staffing companies in the Northwest United States, and a Certified Woman Owned Business, they are the ones who can help you overcome any engineering gender imbalance.

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