Crossrail 2 managing director Michele Dix has highlighted a lack of confidence among women engineers as one factor in their under-representation at senior level.
Dix, who heads up the project to build the north-south London rail link, said she had seen during her career women who did not believe they were capable of certain jobs.
Dix is one of several female engineers to speak in a new diversity video published by the ICE.
She said: “I have experienced putting out a job advert and then wondering why a certain woman has not applied.
“You say ‘Why didn’t you apply for that?’ And they say ‘When I looked at the job application it required 10 things and I could only do nine of them so I didn’t apply.’
“It’s this lack of confidence in some way. I would say that actually the blokes in the organisation could only do two of the 10 things – and they would apply.”
Miranda Housden, ICE South West director and producer of the film, said: “Any organisation or profession will be stronger and more creative if it can draw from a wealth of people, backgrounds and experiences, and will better serve its clients and society if it reflects the diversity of our communities.
“But we can only tap into this wider pool by making ourselves more inclusive and attractive, and making this happen is a challenge for the whole industry. We can start with an open, candid discussion about what is holding us back and the steps that can be taken – in both a practical and cultural sense. We hope this film, and the leading inspirational figures who feature in it and want to see change, really kick starts the debate.”