One of the biggest challenges for women in male-dominated fields is combating perceptions that certain job roles require skills associated with men. A recent study in US publication Psychology of Women Quarterly has recently found that women do better and are seen as more suited to the job when playing up to their masculine traits, such as assertiveness and independence in the workplace.
Construction, engineering and other trade industries offer amazing career opportunities, not to mention a huge range of exciting jobs, yet there are still few females attracted to these professions.
Type of jobs This industry can offer a huge range of careers from terminal manager at an airport to being a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver all over the UK – and sometimes Europe. From studying for a role in transport management to working as a bus, train or tube driver, there are a number of different careers to choose from that require different qualifications.
How to get a job A degree is preferred for most management positions within the transport sector. Undergraduate degrees in transportation are offered by a limited number of colleges and universities, for example Westminster and the University of Kent. Alternatively, degrees in maths, statistics and engineering are acceptable for jobs in management.
Transport for London (TfL) offers graduate schemes and apprenticeships depending on the type of jobs you’re looking for. For apprenticeships, a degree isn’t required and you learn on the job. TfL’s apprenticeship scheme includes roles in human resources, communication, planning and marketing, on London buses, London Underground and the London River service. Train companies across the UK offer similar opportunities.
Type of jobs A challenging and ever-changing business, construction requires attention to detail. Labourers focus on the build, from small maintenance jobs to sorting out roads, or building extensions or houses from scratch. Most builders end up specialising in a particular area, but if that’s not what you fancy you can still work throughout all stages of the construction process. If you prefer a less physical job, for example, contract managers are in charge of the build and deadlines, while surveyors look at orders and costs, and assess the property’s condition.
How to get a job Relevant experience, such as an internship, is key to getting a graduate scheme place in construction or surveying. Employers that require a degree also look for someone that has previous experience. If you are looking to be a labourer, whether you left school with no qualifications or went to university and came out with top grades, you can still be a builder. Try to gain as much experience as you can, even if you just make the tea for a few weeks! Helping out on a site will stand you in good stead for a future in the industry.
Types of jobs Chemistry, physics and biology have recently become favourite career paths among graduates, with science degrees becoming increasingly popular. Finding a job in this sector can sometimes mean thinking outside the box. Jobs in physics include nuclear and space technology, as well as in the computer game industry.
However, if you prefer research, biology may be the right path. For example, drug discovery is changing rapidly. From ensuring cosmetics and medications are safe, to developing the varieties of crops we are familiar with, science is vital. There are also numerous opportunities in chemistry such as nanotechnology, research and development and quality control.
How to get a job A post-graduate degree is essential for most careers in science, for example research and development careers. It’s important to go into further study if you know from the outset what you want to do in this field. A science master’s (MSc) will build on your graduate knowledge and might give you the edge when you apply for jobs.
Type of jobs Some of the most common job roles in technology involve designing and programming software, known as software engineering. Systems analysts research, plan and recommend software and system choices to meet an organisations business requirements, while an IT technician carries out installation, maintenance and problem-solving service for customers.
It’s more people based, usually within a company that employs the individual. Or you may be part of an IT team that provides a remote service.
How to get a job A university degree isn’t always enough for a job in IT. Most employers look for candidates that have taken on projects outside their studies. It is also important to stay up to date in this fast-moving industry, with its constant changes and advancements. It’s a good idea to focus on the few technologies you feel the most comfortable with, so you become an expert in a specific area and focus your mind – and skills – on a clear career path.
Type of jobs This is a thriving industry with a huge number of jobs available, providing opportunities for entry-level positions all the way through to management or senior levels. There is a wide range of individual engineering industries to choose from and within each are a variety of different specialisms on offer, including chemicals, aerospace, automotive, electronic, rail and telecoms engineering.
How to get a job There are two routes into engineering. If you choose to take the non-graduate route, the lowest entry point is a minimum of five GCSEs on apprenticeship schemes (including subjects such as English, maths and science). You will usually work as an operator on equipment, and you’ll study towards an engineering diploma. If you have a degree, you may need to study further for a successful career in engineering. Most companies seek candidates who have experience in the engineering field, and this includes any temporary or voluntary work.