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Top 5 Fastest Growing Industries for Women in 2023

From computer programming to engineering, we explore the top 5 fastest growing industries for women in 2023. Learn more today.

ONS reports reveal that the women’s workforce in the UK is booming, with an incredible 2 million more women in employment since 2010. The data also shows a significant rise in women working in highly-skilled jobs, 38.5% to be exact, and top management roles by nearly 25%!

Within this, young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the fastest-growing working group, putting the UK in the second-best position for the highest female and youth employment rates out of all G7 countries.

These advancements are key to women closing the gender pay gap and making moves towards gender equality. While there is still a lot of work to be done and many industries are still very much male-dominated, and left with a significant wage gap, some industries are evolving faster than others. 

Let’s explore some of the up-and-coming industries for working women in the UK…

Top 5 growing industries for women in 2023

  1. Computer Programming
  2. Engineering
  3. Transportation
  4. Healthcare
  5. Finance

1. Computer Programming

Despite the first ever coder, Ada Lovelace, being a woman, the computer programming industry has since taken a turn and is now largely made up of men. One of the key reasons behind this slow decline in women in computing is down to disparities in course enrolment and salaries. With female students having been consistently underrepresented in secondary and postsecondary computer science courses, it is not surprising that we see such a gap between males and females in the computing industry. In addition to this, according to surveys by PwC, 83% of males study STEM subjects at school, as opposed to just 63% of females. And the number is even lower at university level, at 30%.

Although these numbers may seem low, when you look at the bigger picture, a lot of progress has been made. Looking at the UK as a whole, we’ve seen a record number of women applying for technology degrees at university, with an 82% increase from 2019 to 2020. The largest increase was seen for software engineering courses, with a 66% increase from 2010 to 2020 - according to UCAS data analysis.

These increases in women in computing at an educational level will play a huge part in rectifying the disparities in women in professional computing roles. In fact, we are already beginning to see the impact, and there is an increasing number of females employed in the technology sector as a whole, with approximately one-third of the industry made up of women, as of 2022.

“Women account for nearly 48% of the global workforce. As the IT sector continues to grow, organisations need to welcome more women in tech to keep up with their digital skills requirements. At FDM we are committed to encouraging more women in tech roles. Our Returners Programme has a 75% female intake and we regularly host career attraction initiatives, such as female-only digital bootcamps, CV workshops and interview training to help women find successful careers in tech.”

Sheila Flavell, CBE, COO at FDM Group

The demand for computer programmers and software engineers is on the rise, with employment in these fields expected to increase by 22% in the next 8 years - higher than any other field in the technology industry. So, now’s the time to brush up on your coding skills and get involved!

Could computer programming be the path for you? Check out the amazing career stories of some of the inspirational women at FDM.

2. Engineering

Government 2021 data reveals that the future of women in STEM is positive. Between 2011 and 2020, the number of women in full-time STEM undergraduate courses in the UK increased by 50.1%. Research from EngineeringUK also shows an increase in the number of women in engineering roles, from 10.5% in 2010 to 16.5% in 2022. This may not seem like much, but the analysis shows that this 6% increase amounts to almost 370,000 more women in engineering!

Although the percentage of women in engineering roles and STEM in general, is still relatively low at just 28%. These figures demonstrate that change is happening and with an increasing number of women studying STEM degrees, it is likely that we will see a significant upward trend in the near future as graduates soon put their degrees into practice.

STEM careers can be extremely lucrative and it is predicted that the additional earning potential for women in engineering is almost £100,000 on average over their lifetimes. As such, choosing a career in engineering can help in narrowing the gender pay gap - and, now is the time to start!

3. Transportation

The European Parliament 2022 reports show that women only represent approximately 16% of the transport industry in the EU, as of 2020. Yet, women are vital to supporting the success of the transport industry, especially in light of the growing labour shortages, which have been hugely exacerbated by the pandemic.

The discrepancy between men and women in transport roles is most evident in land transport, with women making up just 14.6% of the workforce. Again, although this may seem low, comparing data from 1998 to 2018, land transport has seen a 173% increase in female employment. Similarly, the air transport sector is almost equally split between a male and female workforce, with 42.5% of women employees. And. with the demand for pilots - for instance - estimated at 804,000 by 2038, women are essential to the industry.

Some of the main factors identified as deterring women from transport roles are the lack of flexibility, limited safe workplace facilities and low wages in corporations to male counterparts. Women in Transport reports that 70% of women in transport believe the industry has an ‘image problem’ and systemic gender imbalance issues that need to be addressed - which is what the EU Parliament has already set out to do.

The European Parliament has put a number of initiatives in place to make the transport industry more attractive and better suited for women. Such initiatives include providing better work-life balance for parents, taking action to close the gender pay gap, addressing stereotyping within transport roles and providing ‘gender-friendly’ accommodation and sanitary facilities at rest places. Addressing these issues head-on, the transport sector will pave the way for more women in transport roles and support this key economic sector in thriving post-pandemic. Are you ready to be part of this movement?

4. Healthcare

As it currently stands, according to the World Health Organisation, women make up 70% of the global health and social care workforce and contribute over $3 trillion to the industry annually. Unfortunately, there is a gender equality divide in the healthcare industry and women hold just 25% of senior roles. Like most industries, the best way to address this is by battling the systemic barriers to women directly.

To achieve this goal. the World Health Organisation, Global Health Workforce Network and Women in Global Health submitted a policy action paper in 2021, which looks at gender equity and leadership in the global health and care workforce. It states:

“The leadership gap in health can only be closed by addressing the systemic barriers women face…Global health is losing out on women’s talent, perspectives and knowledge...Beyond gender parity, leaders of all genders must promote gender transformative policies to realise better global health.”

The policies set out to achieve four core goals:

  1. Build a legal foundation for equality in the workplace;
  2. Address social norms and stereotypes;
  3. Deal with workplace systems and culture; and
  4. Enable women to achieve leadership positions equally.

Read the full plan for more information on how they aim to achieve each objective.

With these new and exciting initiatives in place, women will have the opportunity to excel in healthcare roles and earn their place in senior positions, in an inclusive workplace that makes equality its priority.

5. Finance

In 2016, HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter, which set out to improve gender diversity in the financial services industry. In 2021, HM Treasury published the results of their efforts over the past 5 years using a sample of 205 companies from 12 sectors across the UK financial services industry. Some key findings include:

  • A significant increase in female representation in senior financial positions, including a 60% increase for excos and 40% for board members.
  • An upward trend for women in all roles in the sector, including HR, comms, legal, treasury, policy and marketing.
  • 97% of companies say their agenda to improve female representation has advanced.
  • 63% say the Charter has led to permanent sustainable change in the finance industry.
  • 60% have diversity targets of at least 33% for women in senior management and nearly 40% have a target of at least 40%

A year on, signatories are still making progress with 78% on track to meet their female representation targets and improving the industry for women in leaps and bounds.

At FDM, we believe that championing gender balance is fundamental to who we are and what we do. Our careers programmes offer equal opportunities to all, no matter who you are or where you come from, regardless of your gender.

Download our gender pay gap report to find out more, or check out our careers programmes to kickstart your career today!

About Preeta Ghoshal

Preeta is a content writer with over 10 years’ experience across print, digital and broadcast media. She has worked extensively in multi-media content creation. Her work reflects a mix of subject matter research and storytelling to produce content that is both informative and easily digestible. She is presently providing content support to each of the FDM programmes and the wider marketing team.


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