Ministry of Women's Affairs & Institution of Professional Engineers
Wellington: Ministry of Women's Affairs
Area of focus: 
New Zealand

An online survey of engineering graduates of both genders was followed by interviews with a smaller sample to determine what motivates men and women to study engineering, and what differences exist in their post-graduate experiences. Data was collected for a range of employment issues, attitudes and experiences.

The study finds that engineering is a predominantly male-dominated profession, although women gravitate towards some specialisations and form a majority of graduates in biomedical engineering. Women did not perceive a gender barrier to career progression, although some reported gendered attitudes in the workplace. Men were twice as likely to be earning in the top pay bracket, whereas women were three times more likely to be working in the lowest brackets. Career progression often depends on hours worked, and women returning from having children were more likely to work part-time, impeding their chances of promotion.

The study concludes that a lack of good career guidance exists at the school level to promote the engineering profession, particularly to girls; it recommends school visits from engineer graduates to increase new enrolments.