EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES policies are often characterised by vague and woolly statements from well-meaning companies and individuals.
A flick through the back pages of NCE shows that employers of civil engineers use a confusing multitude of ways describe their equal opportunities policies (see box at top of page).
Whatever they say, it is hard to know whether policies have any effect unless their impact on individuals and the industry as a whole can be measured.
This is where ICE FLOE comes in. It will measure the numbers of women, disabled people and people from ethnic minorities within the ICE membership, publishing the figures annually.
In doing so it can tell whether the industry is truly embracing equal opportunuties or whether well meaning initiatives and recruitment policies are just hot air.
Any decision an employer takes must have a strong business case behind it. Clearly they will put logos, banners and testimonials referring to various aspects of equal opportunities policy on their job ads because they want to attract a full range of applicants. But the fact remains that women and minority groups are still under represented in civil engineering.
While these employers put out a lot of well meaning rhetoric, the only true test of a company's attitude towards equal opportunities is specific action and evidence. Having a strategy or set of policies is only as good as the use employees actually gets from it.