Foreword by Allan Cook
As Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity Leadership Group (DLG), I am proud to introduce examples of good practice from our member organisations. I hope that you will find that the tools and case study examples contained in this document speak for themselves. I encourage you to read them, reflect on them, and consider what value they might have in progressing diversity and inclusion within your organisation. Whether or not you are a member of the DLG, a signatory to the Industry-led 10 Steps or another organisation, I am sure you will find something of interest in this report.
The DLG aims to increase diversity and inclusion across engineering by creating opportunities for employers to drive strategy and engage in activities that not only attract the next generation of engineers, but also support development and retention.
As you will see when you read the case studies, the vast majority of diversity and inclusion work taking place across our sector revolves around gender. While this must continue to be a key area of focus for us, we ought to do more to understand and address barriers that might inhibit other underrepresented groups from joining and staying within engineering employment. Extending the focus of our diversity and inclusion activity beyond gender, we maintain, could be one way to address the engineering skills shortage – the need to find 1.8 million more engineers by 2020.
It is good 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 minority people who make up 25% of primary school children, 25% of engineering graduates, 12% of the working age population but only around 6% of those in employed as professional engineers. Addressing barriers to the recruitment and retention of disabled people would also be of benefit to our profession. As valuable talent within our workforces ages, and the statutory retirement age no longer applies, we need to become smarter at recruiting and retaining disabled people, or people from any background with the prerequisite skills.
Aside from sharing the case study examples and toolkit in this document, the DLG has also produced a Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering Survey Report 2015 2 based on a survey of members which reported in February 2015. The survey provides excellent information on current DLG performance on diversity and inclusion. I appreciate that while our members are having a positive impact — there is still some way to go in developing truly inclusive workplaces. Each time we conduct our DLG diversity and inclusion survey, we will be on the lookout for more good practice examples. I look forward to sharing these with you in the future.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Nelson Ogunshakin and the members of DLG subgroup two – building inclusive cultures for leading the development of an excellent suite of case studies to disseminate and build on.
Foreword by Dr Nelson Ogunshakin
I am delighted to have chaired DLG subgroup two – building inclusive cultures since its inception in February 2014. I am especially proud of the role the subgroup has played in leading the development of this document, and in working with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) to lead the delivery of the inaugural DLG Diversity and Inclusion Survey in 2015.
Creating inclusive cultures across engineering companies is critical in not only engaging, attracting and retaining engineers of all ages, but also as regards driving innovation and creativity. Time and time again, it has been proven that greater diversity leads to increased innovation and creativity, and new research shows strong correlation with financial performance.
This report includes many examples where engineering companies are actively supporting diversity and inclusion; through the development of staff networks, leaders and women; by reviewing their strategy and approaches; and measuring and monitoring the impact. It is heartening to see that many organisations in this document address diversity and inclusion as a business imperative – to be tackled like any other area of business.
Allan Cook, Chair of the DLG, provided the strategic leadership required to execute this task and we are very grateful for his advice and forthright thinking in driving this particular programme forward to successful conclusion.
Sue Percy, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) is a member of the building inclusive cultures subgroup. This has afforded the opportunity to work closely with the CIHT in disseminating good practice, not just for engineering as a whole but also specifically for the transportation sector. I urge you to explore the CIHT document Routes to Diversity & Inclusion — a toolkit to help employers recruit, retain and develop a diverse workforce for more ideas on increasing diversity and inclusion.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all members of subgroup two for their time and contributions inside and outside of meetings, without which we would not be in a position to share this document. I would also like to thank Bola Fatimilehin and the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity Team for their advice, support and persistence in steering the development and keeping us all on track. Finally, I would like to thank Pearn Kandola for allowing us to share their tools to support companies in their quest for greater diversity and inclusion.
I hope you find something of interest in this document to take forward within your organisation.