Could your marketing help girls lead Britain out of the skills shortage?

Could your marketing help girls lead Britain out of the skills shortage?

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The WISE Campaign was set up 30 years ago to promote female talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). One way that they do this is by encouraging young women to pursue academic and career options that they otherwise might overlook. Their challenge is now more relevant than ever and holds the key to substantially boosting the UK economy.

We currently have the lowest number of female engineers in the whole of Europe. And this is particularly problematic because the overall number of engineers in the UK is far too low. If girls rarely consider engineering as a career option it will be difficult to tackle the skills shortage.

WISE works with their corporate partners to pull more women into STEM-related careers. They have set themselves the task of helping the number of female employees in these areas to grow by one million, which will boost the talent pool and drive economic growth in the UK.

Earlier this year Pimp My Cause connected WISE with the team at #ogilvychange, so they could gain insights into how to change behaviour to get more girls to study the subjects needed to consider a career in engineering.

The #ogilvychange team identified several psychological barriers that play a part in stopping girls from choosing this career path.

In order for a girl to become an engineer she needs to make several unpopular decisions from a young age.

Girls want to fit in with their peer group and the most popular career choice that girls consider in their early teens is hair dressing. Many girls are aware of very few female role models in science and maths, so they are not the career choices that immediately come to their minds. And taking physics A levels is considered more difficult than other subjects, so many parents encourage their daughters to take other subjects in which it will be easier to get top marks.

Government and industry leaders are aware of the need to overcome these obstacles, but there is still a long way to go. If every single girl taking A level physics went on to study engineering at university, they would still make up less than a quarter of the successful applicants.

WISE was very pleased to get #ogilvychange’s recommendations on how to overcome these barriers and get more support for girls to choose physics GCSE and then to study physics and maths A levels, so they could keep their options open to go on to study engineering at university or as an apprentice.

#ogilvychange’s recommendations covered everything from schools using posters of role models to overcome negative stereotypes to creating an activity book to help girls see where their talents lie, to a competition and workshops to get parents involved with supporting their daughters’ futures.


The WISE campaign is now planning for how to implement all of the campaign ideas developed by the #ogilvychange team.

They would love to have help with developing their marketing strategy to support them in identifying how to make the best use of their corporate members and other resources to maximise impact. They need your support to help the girls of today become the science and technology leaders of tomorrow.

Please email Anna Mullenneaux ([email protected]), chief match maker at Pimp My Cause, if you are interested in supporting them with your marketing expertise.

Read more from Pimp My Cause in our Clubhouse.

(Feature image courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence.)

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 01 Nov 2014
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