Gen Z female grads in engineering up 40pc

Gen Z females make up 25pc of engineering graduates compared with Gen Y who make up 18pc – representing a 40pc increase in one generation.

Generation Z, the generation born between 1996 and 2010, have seen their female cohort produce 40 per cent (pc) more engineering graduates than their millennial counterparts, according to new 2020 global talent market research by, in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum.

The research, which was conducted among 11,769 students across the areas of business, IT, engineering, law and health noted a generational increase in the number of female graduates in both the engineering and business fields of 40pc and 4pc respectively.

“There has been positive growth in female graduates in the engineering sector from Gen Y to Gen Z”

In recent years, corporates like Dell EMC, Accenture, and Johnson & Johnson have invested heavily in the promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers among female graduates, and this latest research appears to indicate that investment is beginning to pay off.

However, the research also noted a drop off in the number of female IT graduates, an 11pc decrease from Gen Y/Millennials to Gen Z, meaning more work is still required to position IT as an attractive career prospect for females. 

The generation gap

Gender aside, there has been a shift in priorities across the board among Gen Z graduates and their Gen Y/Millennial counterparts when looking at the sought-after attributes amongst potential employers.

While remuneration is the main driver for Gen Z graduates across all industries, other prominent factors include the company’s prestige, its innovation credentials, and a friendly work environment. For Generation Y respondents, professional training opportunities rank above competitive salary or higher future earnings.  

“A lot can change in a generation and that’s particularly true for the Irish labour market, according to the findings of our latest research with Universum,” said Orla Moran, general manager at

“In terms of the makeup of the current talent market, there has been positive growth in female graduates in the engineering sector from Gen Y to Gen Z. This may be down to the huge emphasis put on women to study STEM subjects in recent years and investment in female led initiatives that draw attention to female involvement in STEM. However, there has been a slight drop off in female IT graduates from Gen Y to Z, which suggests that there is still work to be done.

“When it comes to what graduates want from an employer, expectations are high among Gen Z professionals. From the outset, they expect higher pay and better conditions than their Gen Y counterparts, while also looking for opportunities to travel and work abroad.

“Compared to Gen Y, Gen Z had graduated into a robust economy that was recovering well after many austere years. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic those gains have been curtailed, however the professional job market has remained buoyant,” she added.  

Graduate pool analysis

The business, engineering and law graduate pool is predominantly made up of Gen Z students, with 90pc of students from these sectors falling within the Gen Z age bracket.

The make-up of the IT graduate pool is notably different, comprising of twice as many Gen Y graduates compared to all other sectors.

“When it comes to what graduates want from an employer, expectations are high among Gen Z professionals”

In total, 21pc of IT graduates are millennials, which could be in direct response to the demand for more IT skills in the job market and a subsequent return to education among Gen Ys, as they retrain to meet the demand for skilled IT personnel.

“Gen Z are a highly educated and motivated generation,” continued Ms Moran. “They want more from their employers than ever before and are ambitiously signalling to employers that they want to progress and improve their skills.

“When polled, Gen Z consistently stated development as a key attraction among employers. Employers looking to attract graduates to join the workforce should strongly consider these motivations when they are looking to recruit, and adopt their employer brand strategy to showcase what they can offer a potential employee that fits their needs as a Gen Z professional,” she finished.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 11 November, 2020