Panel Discussion at CCH will Examine how to Retain Women in the Engineering Sector - Construction Network Ireland - Construction Network Ireland

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Published in Engineering on 26/02/2018

Panel Discussion at CCH will Examine how to Retain Women in the Engineering Sector


CNI Editor reports

Engineers Ireland Cork and Cork City Council are organising a lunchtime panel discussion on Wednesday to discuss ‘Engineers skill shortage: solutions and actions’


  • Professor Mary Horgan, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
  • Donal Sullivan VP and General Manager Johnson Controls
  • Sinead O’Donnell  Technical Services Manager ESB

In recent years, there has been a noted focus on encouraging second level female pupils to consider science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as a third-level and career choice.

However, the retention and progression of women working in the STEM sector has received less attention, even though studies show that women are more likely than men to drop out of STEM careers (73% vs. 48% according to a 2012 Scottish study) which means there is less women in STEM leadership roles. Meanwhile, the Irish engineering sector is experiencing a skills shortage so the retention of early to mid-career engineering professionals is crucial.

Many engineering organisations are aware of the benefits of a diverse workforce and have diversity/gender policies in place, yet the numbers tell a different story. While 20% of engineering students in Ireland are female, only 11% of Engineers Ireland membership is female. Male engineers are almost twice as likely to work in senior management compared to female engineers  and female membership of Engineers Ireland has hovered at 10% since 2013.

Engineers Ireland Cork committee member and Cork City Council Executive Engineer, Valerie Fenton has organised this lunchtime discussion to look at the issues facing these young professionals and how we can support them to stay in the sector and advance their careers.

Valerie Fenton said: “As part of this lunchtime panel discussion, made up of experts across the medical, smart technology and engineering fields, we will explore the lessons that they have learned and how their organisations benefitted from adopting a proactive approach to retention and progression of female professionals. The panel discussion will be of interest to engineers and other professionals who want to enhance their business performance”.

“Professor Mary Horgan and Sinead O’Donnell will look at how the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is addressing this challenge while Donal Sullivan will demonstrate how Johnson Controls have become leaders in gender parity,” she added.

  •  Wednesday 28 February, 1-2pm, discussion and q&a [Tea/Coffee 12:30]
  •  Millennium Hall, City Hall Cork
  • Admission is free and all are welcome. Places are however limited so pre-booking is required using the link provided

If you would like to attend please confirm your interest via the following link.