1. Women slowly catching up among engineering graduates especially in EU-15 countries
2. Women researchers more likely to work in sectors with lower R&D expenditure
3. Level of education impacts differently on employment outcomes for women and men.
A positive trend in education
From 1998 to 2001, a growing number of women and men graduated in science, maths and computing (+25.2%) as well as in engineering (+8.3%). Although women only account for 20% of PhD graduates in engineering, their number is growing rapidly. In 2001 alone, Europe’s employment market gained some 84,000 newly-qualified women engineers, compared to 380,000 male graduates.
What prospects for these highly-qualified women?
According to current trends, women are more likely than men to opt for non-research occupations after graduation. The surge of women engineers does not seem to be having any impact upon their representation in scientific and engineering jobs where the gender gap is actually widening.
In these fields the number of men increased by 4.9% from 1998 to 2002, whereas the increase was only 4.2% for women, who are already a minority (31%).
In R&D employment, women account for a greater proportion of technician jobs than they do for research posts. Furthermore, there is an emerging pattern whereby women tend to be concentrated in poorly-funded areas and most men researchers in the better-funded areas. This has an adverse impact on transparency and democracy in Europe’s scientific governance and the required infrastructure changes to meet the Lisbon objectives to turn Europe into the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world.