Female engineer
Only 7% of the total UK engineering workforce is female, according to the ICE(Reuters)

UK engineering firms should investigative how to make their companies more "female friendly", according to an industry body.

The Institution of Civil Engineers has launched a new initiative to encourage engineering employers to look at their recruitment and retention policies in attempt to balance gender diversity.

The organisation, which claimed that only 7% of the total UK engineering workforce is female, announced the scheme to coincide with National Women in Engineering Day.

"Despite much effort from many people and organisations the UK still struggles to attract the right balance of men and women into the engineering profession," said Nick Baveystock, director general of the ICE.

"This is not about arbitrary fixing of targets to reflect societal balance – it is about understanding that men and women bring different perspectives to engineering solutions."

"There is a commercial as well as a social imperative to right the imbalance and we should all strive to ensure that careers in the engineering profession are equally accessible."

The comments come after the manufacturers' organisation EEF revealed that all FTSE 100 manufacturers now have at least one women on the board. But EEF acknowledges more is needed to be done to promote diversity.

"Manufacturers are heading in the right direction, but cannot afford to let up," said Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF.

"We are matching other industries for female board representation, but there is no room for complacency.

"If our sector is to continue to thrive we need to be fishing from the entire talent pool and that means ensuring women have the right skills and opportunities and are represented at every level."