The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Creating cultures where all engineers thrive report, based on a survey of over 7,000 engineers, recommended creating a critical mass of allies who could then influence organisations to increase the inclusive nature of both engineering and organisational culture.

This first-of-a kind survey of engineers’ perceptions of the inclusivity of their workplaces created a baseline from which to measure progress on how employees with different backgrounds are valued in engineering.

The study revealed a consistent pattern of lower levels of inclusion for women and black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) engineers, and one in five white male engineers report not feeling included. When it comes to developing a more inclusive culture for the future, women and BAME engineers only comprise 12% and 9% of the engineering profession respectively. It is just not enough of a critical mass to drive change. Without more majority engineers engaging in change, the sector will simply be unable to create a more inclusive engineering culture.

The results from the survey showed that there is more to do to capitalise on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to ensure that engineers and technicians from all backgrounds feel properly valued and respected in their work.

 

Majority Allies Action Group 

Following the report, an action group made up of members of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group came together to develop a set of resources to support individuals who wish to be an ally and to support organisations who may wish to have an allies programme or support allies within their organisation. The Majority Allies Action Group canvassed a number of engineering companies with different business interests to gauge interest in the concept of resources supporting majority allies, and survey feedback showed:

  1. People would be motivated to be an ally from an emotional standpoint, through recognition that people are often treated unfairly and identifying a need to address injustice
  2. The main barriers and challenges that people have faced are not knowing what to do, and having a lack of understanding of the role of an ally
  3. Sometimes there is a lack of organisational support for such a role
  4. Allies have said that they would like a clear role profile, information on best practice and the ability to share stories
  5. There was a clear interest in pursuing this initiative and the need to establish allies in engineering companies.

 

The organisations that were represented in the action group that developed the modules are:

  • Network Rail
  • Airbus
  • Wood plc
  • Mott MacDonald
  • WSP
  • National Grid
  • Arcadis
  • Roke
  • KBR
  • Rolls-Royce