A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering reviews five years of work on the Diversity in Engineering Programme, which aims to open the profession to wider social groups.
EngineeringUK, which works with industry to promote the role of engineers and engineering, estimates that the country faces a 69,000 shortfall in engineers each year, and the Royal Academy of Engineering believes that increased diversity might offer one solution to the problem.
Its findings include a survey that showed 84% of respondents felt more motivated when their leaders are perceived as being inclusive.
The Academy said it has taken several steps to increase diversity in the industry. These include setting up a Diversity Leadership Group with 50 employers and employer-led organisations and establishing an Engineering Diversity Concordat, which 32 organisations have signed.
Dervilla Mitchell, director at Arup and incoming chair of the diversity and inclusion committee, said: “We have learnt a lot during the last five years about the nature of the diversity and inclusion challenge and approaches that work. We are on a journey in an industry that is changing and so we need to evolve as we enter the next phase.
“Our focus going forward is to be more explicitly centred on what we can do well to galvanise the profession and increase inclusion. We will build on our successful activities and find ways to collaborate with others to help deliver the diversity and inclusion we aspire to across all fields of engineering.”
Key points from the report:
- There are still too few women in the profession, although some organisations have had success in increasing the numbers
- Ethnic minority graduates, while in high proportions in higher education, do not feed through, at the same levels, into engineering employment
- The engineering workforce is ageing with some companies due to lose significant numbers of engineers over the next few years
- Women and ethnic minority employees and potential employees report experiencing exclusionary and other negative behaviours across the profession
- LGBT engineers report experiencing homophobia, limiting their capacity to fully contribute to their organisations.