The University of Adelaide is offering women-only academic jobs.

The university wants to get more females into the engineering, computing and mathematics fields by advertising jobs for associate professor, senior lecturer and lecturer positions are in the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, where 85 per cent of academic staff are male.

It is using a special exemption in the Equal Opportunity Act for schemes that benefit a “particular disadvantaged group”.

“We really struggle with diversity, therefore we don't perform as well as we could,” said faculty deputy dean for performance and infrastructure Peter Ashman.

“It's been an issue since I was an undergraduate 30 years ago.

“There was a big push in those days to attract more women into the engineering professions as students but also as staff, and while we've made some progress over that time it's still woefully inadequate.”

Professor Ashman said the system is missing women.

“This is about making our organisation better, it's about us having a diverse and more inclusive organisation,” he said.

“Society is going to need some very clever engineers and computer scientists and mathematicians in the future to solve a whole range of problems, and if we're not fishing from the whole pond we're going to have a problem.”

The University of Adelaide's science faculty will begin advertising female-only jobs soon.

Overall, about 40 per cent of current staff are female.

Engineers Australia says just only 6 per cent of girls and 11.5 per cent of boys are studying advanced maths in high school, down from 8 per cent and 16 per cent respectively in 2001.

Melbourne and Monash universities have also reserved academic positions for women.