Posted: March 15, 2024

Female Engineers are earning up to 9.5 % higher salaries than their male counterparts and are twice as likely to be called for interview despite representing just under 10% of applications for engineering roles according to a specialist recruitment survey. The comprehensive survey of a random sample of 1,000 applications for engineering roles made in the first three months of this year by specialist engineering recruitment firm Sonas Technical shows a major gender rebalancing of salaries for the sector as females are now more in demand by Irish and multinational engineering firms.


The latest demand for female engineers comes from companies who crucially require their softer skills such as diversity of thought and approach within their organisation which in turn allows for more collaboration and connection, stakeholder engagement and better communication skills than males. Also critically, engineering firms also want to match the gender balance of their clients as it enables them to build better customer relations and fulfil their diversity obligations.


However Sonas Technical’s Director of Talent Solutions Tanya Rampaul sounded a warning “Its great to see that gender pay differences is rapidly rebalancing but the number of females applying for engineering roles is disproportionally way lower than their male counterparts. We urgently need a greater emphasis now on STEM subjects at primary school level to encourage a lot more girls to develop a love for these important courses.  Communication is key – females need to be able to see it to believe it. We must showcase successful women in these arenas through stories on company websites and throughout social media. Companies need to sponsor this, need to get behind it. Female engineer role models need to be attending secondary schools and engaging with young females encouraging them to think about the industry.”


“It is absolutely ridiculous that the Department of Education recently awarded STEM grant funding in a scheme to just 19% of primary schools (531 primary schools) leaving 2200 unsuccessful schools for this funding. That is 2200 primary schools that have young females that might miss an opportunity of going down this career path. Why not all schools?  Earlier intervention is required to encourage young females to come into the industry and therefore they need to then be considering these subjects when they enter the secondary school system. Engineering roles are essential to future proofing our economy. These are cutting edge jobs that need to be marketed and be made more attractive to our younger female population,” she continued.


Ms Rampaul went on to further explain the lower numbers of female engineering applicants by the fact that a female will only apply for a role when she thinks she ticks every box whereas a male applicant will review a job description, see that he matches one box and happily apply, completely ignoring the rest. Historically engineering was seen as a traditionally male dominated sector and only in recent years has started more flexible work practices allowing more females to enter this sector.


What Applications were included

A random sample of 1,000 applications received since the beginning of Q1 2024 were analysed to determine the volume of female applicants in comparison to their male counterparts. The level of experience of the applications identified ranged from graduate level through to senior level positions. The applications examined were for STEM based roles across the engineering industry. Administrative, financial and business support applications were omitted from the sample to gain a true indication as to the comparison of male and female applicants for engineering roles


Male vs Female comparison table:

Job Title

Avg. Female Salary

Avg. Male Salary

% Difference

Graduate Engineer (1 year)

35,000

32,000

9.37%

Junior Project Engineer (1 – 3 years)

50,000

45,700

9.41%

 Design Engineer (3 – 5 years)

41,000

39,000

5.1%

Project Engineer (5+ years)

65,000

60,000

8.3%