LONDON, November 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Time to tackle ethnic diversity in engineering, says Academy
While many UK engineering companies are already well engaged in driving better gender balance in the engineering profession, more work is needed in promoting ethnicity/race, sexual orientation and disability diversity, according to two new reports to be published by the Royal Academy of Engineering today (17 November). The recommendations will be discussed with representatives of many of the UK's best known engineering companies at a launch event at The Crystal, Royal Victoria Dock.
Of the companies surveyed, 96% anticipate difficulty in recruiting in the future and would like to broaden their recruitment pool; 83% see diversity as critical to enhancing their capacity for innovation and creativity and 76% see it as crucial to tackling the skills shortage.
While gender must continue to be a key area of focus, says the survey, the profession should do more to address barriers that might inhibit other underrepresented groups from joining and remaining in the engineering profession. Extending the focus on diversity and inclusion activity beyond gender provides one way to address the engineering skills shortage - the UK needs 1.8 million more engineers by 2020.
People from ethnic minorities make up 25% of the UK's primary school children, 25% of engineering graduates and 12% of the working age population but account for only 6% of professional engineers.
Allan Cook CBE FREng, Chairman of Atkins and Chair of the Academy's Diversity Leadership Group, says: "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."
Today's event is supported by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), Airbus, Arup, Atkins, BAE Systems, BP, Buro Happold, Card Geotechnics Ltd, CH2M, Cogent, Energy & Utility Skills, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, IMI plc, Kapsch Traffic Com, Metaswitch, National Grid, Network Rail, Northumbrian Water, QinetiQ, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce plc, Selex ES, SEMTA, Siemens, the Women's Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
Contact: Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44(0)20-7766-0636; email: email@example.com
SOURCE Royal Academy for Engineering