Our entrepreneurial spirit is pushing the UK to the forefront of engineering
For those of us who witness creative innovation on a daily basis, it’s no great surprise to learn that the United Kingdom is becoming a veritable hotbed of STEM superheroes.
But now it looks like the figures are backing up this perception. According to research carried out to mark the annual showcase of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub, the UK has now surpassed the US as the world’s ‘global centre’ for engineering start-ups.
The poll found that 34% of this country’s engineers had set up their own business, while the Americans had fallen behind at 27%. We’ve got London to thank for this, really – well over half of engineers based in the capital had founded start-ups, compared to just 15% outside the city.
Still, when comparing specific regions around the world, only Silicon Valley trumped London when it came to exciting new companies. The research revealed some interesting age data too: half of engineers in their 30s had set up businesses, compared to just one in 10 among the over-40s.
It’s not all been positive news for the sector, though. The Royal Academy of Engineering’s CEO revealed that she was embarrassed to visit other countries, due to the fact that the UK’s record on employing women in engineering is the lowest in Europe.
Hayaatun Sillem said that British companies’ failure to reach a female workforce proportion of 10% “can’t be healthy”, considering that countries such as Malaysia and Oman boast rates of 50%.
Stronger promotion of engineering as a career choice would appear to be needed. It would be a great shame to continue racing ahead of the rest of the world in one respect, while lagging shamefully behind it in another.
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