The new Diversity Leadership Group (DLG) meets today in London at the Royal Academy of Engineering in response to the predicted future shortage of skilled engineers in the UK.

Consisting of employers from an array of engineering disciplines, the DLG is determined to have a positive impact on the supply of engineers to the economy. It will address key issues and points of access with a view to removing barriers and encouraging more women and other underrepresented groups into engineering.

According to projections by Engineering UK, the British market will require 87,000 new skilled engineers with a higher qualification (HNC/D, Foundation Degree, undergraduate or postgraduate and equivalent) every year for the next eight years. Despite this great demand, only 46,000 individuals a year are expected to obtain the level of qualifications required.

To address this shortage, the DLG, run and hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering, will meet regularly to steer and review collective actions to increase the size and diversity of the engineering talent pool.

These five themes will form the Group’s main focus:

- Perception of engineering

- Schools’ engagement and information

- Recruitment

- Retention

- Use of data

Academy President Sir John Parker GBE FREng, said: “The need for the establishment of the Diversity Leadership Group came from the skills gap faced by engineering companies. As a profession, engineering is competing with more visible options in society such as banking, law and medicine; professions more explicitly represented in the media.

”If we want to access the same diversity of skills and experience shared by these sectors, there are a number of challenges that the engineering community needs to step up to, starting from attracting more engineers by promoting the role engineering plays in society to offering more support to existing engineers.

”From day one, the group will work to make a career in engineering more attractive, desirable and rewarding to everyone.”

The group includes over 50 representatives from companies and organisations with strong links to the engineering world. Members will lead change by example and support the implementation of specific actions in order to fulfil their strategic aims.

Allan Cook CBE FREng, Chair of the Diversity Leadership Group and Chairman of Atkins said:

”The economic future of the UK demands a vibrant and growing engineering and manufacturing sector in order to deliver growth. According to recent research, the UK engineering workforce composition is 94% male and 94% white.

”To attract the numbers and variety of engineers that are required in future years, and taking maximum advantage of the UK labour pool, we must engage with all sectors of society to seek out the required skills.”

Sir John Parker addresses the first Diversity Leadership Group-Royal Academy of Engineering

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The figures on diversity in engineering come from the Academy’s analysis of the Labour Force Survey, 2004-2010.
  3. The Diversity Leadership Group is part of the BIS-funded Diversity in Engineering Programme.
  4. Full list of supporting organisations includes: Atkins, Atkins – Energy, Card Geotechnics, Buro Happold, BDP, ACE, SEMTA, EU Skills, CITB, Women in Rail, RAeS, IET, IChemE, EngUK, BAE Systems, RAEng, BIS, Qinetiq, Selex ES, Kapsch TrafficCom, Crossrail, National Grid, Ultra Electronics, Marshall Group, Cogent, IMechE, GSK, Rolls Royce, BG Group, ICE, HS2, E-skills, London Underground, Renishaw, Metaswitch, Unipart, CITB, Tata, BP, Siemens, GKN, Northumbrian Water, Network Rail, BIS, IMI, JLR, ARUP, EADS/Airbus

For more information please contact

Dr Giorgio De Faveri at the Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655; email: Dr Giorgio De Faveri