n South African Journal of Labour Relations - Exploring the career path barriers of women professional engineers in a South African context

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



Despite various initiatives to address inequalities and barriers faced by women in engineering, it appears that once women engineers enter the workforce, they tend to leave engineering faster than their male colleagues, despite having worked so hard to qualify. The aim of this study is to explore the barriers to the career advancement of women in the engineering profession that exist despite the enforcement of labour equity, and try to determine why women engineers go into management rather than staying in the profession. The results and findings revealed various barriers, in both the professional and the psychological categories, to the advancement of women engineers in South Africa. Gender issues, a lack of training and real exposure to engineering practice, poor talent management and a lack of mentorship were the most prominent career barriers highlighted. A majority of the sample group of women engineers considered management as a career option as opposed to engineering. Recommendations on how organisations may address these barriers are made.

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