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Profession must tackle all diversity not just gender, says Academy

More work to promote diversity in the workplace is needed, according to new reports published by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Academy has published a toolkit providing case studies and guidance on building diversity in the engineering sector. It covers diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

It has also published the Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering survey report for 2015. The survey found that 76% of companies see improving wortkforce diversity as crucial to tackling the skills shortage and that while it is right that gender is a key area of focus, the profession could do more to bring down other barriers. People from ethnic minorities make up 25% of engineering graduates, 12% of the working population but only 6% of professional engineers.

Atkins chairman and chair of the Academy’s diversity leadership group Allan Cook said: “Diversity work by engineering companies is having a positive impact, but there is still some way to go in developing truly inclusive workplaces. It is encouraging to see work being done to address barriers faced by lesbian and gay people, and it would be good to see more in relation to ethnic minorities. We also need to become smarter at recruiting and retaining disabled people, and people from any background with the prerequisite skills.”

Association for Consultancy & Engineering chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin chaired the working group that compiled the Academy’s new collection of case studies. He said: “Creating inclusive cultures across engineering companies is critical not only to engaging, attracting and retaining engineers of all ages, but also in driving innovation and creativity. Time and time again, it has been proven that greater diversity leads to increased innovation and creativity, and there is also a strong correlation with financial performance.”

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