The latest research from ClickMechanic, an online marketplace for car repair, has revealed that more than half of UK adults believe that young girls are discouraged from a career in mechanics, as a result of its being a male-dominated industry.
In fact, 58% argue that the gender imbalance will have a negative influence on a young girl’s decision to enter into this profession. Looking at other factors; 50% feel that the stereotype of a mechanic will put young girls off, whilst 40% believe that the lack of role models has a significant influence. 34% blame a lack of exposure to the opportunity, after which 21% believe that a fear of the opinions of friends plays a noteworthy role. 21% also assume that the physical labour involved in the work discourages young girls and 20% feel that young girls are concerned with their family’s opinions, which dissuades them from this career. 20% also believe that a mechanic’s lack of opportunity to progress as a career path will have an impact. Factors which receive the least amount of blame include school, of which 14% feel has a negative influence, and at the end of the table, wage, which only 6% argue will discourage the decision.
As such, there is a sense that the current imbalance of gender in the industry as well as the position’s dated reputation of being a ‘man’s job’, is believed to put off more young girls than its potential as a career path. Indeed, almost three times as many people believe that its being a male-dominated industry will put-off the decision, compared to the physical labour involved or the lack of opportunity to progress in it as a career. In addition, there are almost ten times more people which believe that gender imbalance is likely to discourage, compared to the wage.
Comparing the results between men and women produces some interesting insights. On the whole, women feel that the majority of the factors have more of a negative influence on young girls than men do. The most obvious difference of opinion is in the lack of exposure to the opportunity, of which 41% of women argue compared to 27% of men. There’s also a 9% difference between men and women on whether the industry’s male-domination has a negative effect; 62% of women versus 53% of men. However, men do single out some factors more than women including friends’ opinions (23% of men vs. 19% of women) and the physical labour involved (23% of men vs. 20% of women).
Interestingly, in terms of age, the results show some division. Whilst those aged over 55 feel the most popular factors have more of a negative influence, those aged 18-34 argue that the opinions of others have a more significant effect on the career prospect. Indeed, 26% of those aged between 18-34 admit that friends’ opinions may have an effect, compared to a smaller 18% of 35-54s and 19% of those aged over 55. There’s a similar pattern in the results for the parent/family’s opinions as well; a greater 24% of those aged between 18-34 blame this, compared to 17% of 35-54s and 20% of those over 55. The factors with the highest percentile difference include it being a male-dominated industry (52% for 18-34s vs. 58% for 35-54s vs. 62% for over 55s) and a lack of exposure to the opportunity (29% for 18-34s vs. 33% for 35-54s vs. 39% for over 55s), both of which have a 10% difference between the age groups with those over 55 having the greater percentage. The only factor which all three age groups agree upon evenly is the lack of role models, with 40% each.
Location-wise, Plymouth has the highest percentage arguing that the listed factors do have a negative effect on young girls, as 93% felt that at least one factor made a difference. In contrast, Edinburgh has the lowest percentage, with 74% admitting that the circumstances have some kind of an impact. Looking at London, the results are fairly reflective of the total average, however, there is a 6% increase in the physical labour involved, with 27%, as well as a 5% increase in the impact of school, with 19% blaming this factor.
Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “It is sad to see a number of industries, such as car repair, still being dominated by one gender. Whilst there has been some improvement over the years for mechanics, there is still an obvious imbalance which needs to change. There is no reason a woman cannot excel in this career and as such, young girls should not be negatively influenced if they show an interest.”