Spring 2019

Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Conference 2019: remembering the past, celebrating the present, transforming the future - The Academy were headline sponsors of the event which celebrated the achievements of women in engineering since the inception of WES 100 year ago. Around 220 people attended and had the opportunity to hear about the experiences of several women in engineering including Air Marshal Sue Grey CB, OBE, FREng, engineer and senior Royal Air Force Officer. The Conference was opened by Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer of WES, followed by a stimulating keynote from Mandy Hickson, Ex-fighter pilot and motivational speaker. Other sessions reflected on the experiences of younger WES members, heritage displays, men as allies, how women can break the mould and exploration of WES’s vision for the next 100 years which was the focus of closing remarks from WES President, Dawn Childs.


Data driven culture change - On 27 November, the Academy’s annual diversity and inclusion (D&I) event took place with a focus on how data can be used to drive culture change across engineering organisations. Over 130 people attended from more than 80 organisations.

Keynote speaker, Gary Kildare, Chief HR Officer at IBM, discussed how IBM is using data and  artificial intelligence (AI) to develop more inclusive cultures. Henrik Hagemann, Co-Founder and CEO of CustoMem, spoke about culture change from an SME perspective. The Academy’s D&I team also presented the findings from an Academy commissioned survey on D&I across engineering employment, giving attendees the opportunity to discuss implications for the profession. Emerging findings from the survey are that:

  • SMEs need convincing of the benefits of D&I to their business.
  • A significant proportion of engineering employers do not see a link between increasing D&I and reducing the engineering skills gap. However, many see links between D&I and organisational image and reputation, legal compliance, increased collaboration, and customer satisfaction.
  • The industry is actively promoting engineering as a desirable career.
  • Engineering employers do not only consider D&I in the context of HR, but also in the context of wider business activity such as product or service design, marketing, the supply chain, customer experience, and community relations.

The D&I Measurement in Engineering guide was also launched at the event. Produced by members of the Academy’s D&I Leadership Group (DILG), it provides a structure that employers can use to measure progress on D&I in their organisations. 

The Academy’s D&I programme and Enterprise Hub are embarking on a collaboration to develop a bespoke framework to help increase D&I across engineering SMEs, including startups, micros and scale-ups.

The next academy annual D&I programme event will take place on 24 October and will centre on sharing findings from the Academy project to close the engineering gender pay gap.


Data monitoring - In November 2018, the Academy’s Trustee Board agreed to support a campaign to encourage all Academy Fellows to self-declare their diversity data by the end of spring 2019. Data monitoring is essential to developing an evidence-based D&I programme.

Inclusive selection - In April 2019, employees across the Academy will attend an inclusive selection workshop to increase their understanding of how attraction and selection processes can be made more inclusive and achieve a more diverse range of grantees, awardees and prize winners.

Development raises £441k bursaries - The Academy raised £441,000 from the Sir Ralph Robins Scholarship fund, which will provide bursaries for undergraduate students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds as part of its Engineering Leaders Scholarship programme.


Celebrating D&I in engineering

International Day of People with Disabilities

In celebration of the International Day of People with Disabilities, which took place on 3 December, some Academy employees wrote internal blogs that shared their experiences of disabilities such as anxiety and depression.

On 11 December, the Academy hosted a session on how to help employees with disabilities. It also raised awareness of Change100, an internship programme that unlocks the untapped potential of students and graduates with disabilities. More than 30 colleagues attended the session.

  • In addition, the Academy has published a 'Building accessibility statement' to promote features of its venue, Prince Philip House. The booklet highlights aspects of the building designed to make it more inclusive, Braille business cards, which include the Wi-Fi password, are now available at reception.
  • The Academy’s editorial style guide has been updated and now includes an expanded version on inclusive language.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history month

Throughout LGBT history month, in February, the Academy teamed up with InterEngineering to share information on LGBT engineers with targeted resources to increase LGBT inclusion through a social media campaign.

International Women’s Day 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Academy extended its online profiles of female Fellows to inspire more women to become engineers and stay in the profession. New profiles have been added to celebrate women’s engineering achievements and raise issues such as fair recruitment, effective retention, fair pay and career progression.


Autumn 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Academy D&I team is now complete. Arti Dillon joined the team at the end of April as Project Officer  and Monica Stancu joined in June as Programme Manager. Arti plays a key role in coordinating the delivery of D&I communications and engagement events with stakeholders and Monica is leading delivery of the Academy’s internal facing programme of work – ensuring actions plans are implemented and to support internal monitoring and report on progress.

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) Leadership Lunch

On 22 June, the Academy hosted a lunch to celebrate INWED 2018, to consider how the profession can address the barriers faced by women seeking senior roles in engineering. It also considered the impact of role models and the extent to which they proactively create opportunities for advancement and inclusion. Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM OBE FREng FRS, Academy President, welcomed the attendees. It was an opportunity for young engineers to network with senior industry leaders, providing a platform to share advice, experiences and encourage participation.

D&I in science, technology, engineering and maths All-Party Parliamentary Group

The Academy is a sponsor of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on D&I in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The group aims to promote the inclusion and progression of people from diverse backgrounds in STEM, and to encourage government, parliamentarians, academics, businesses and other stakeholders to work towards a STEM sector that is representative of the population.

As part of its work on D&I in STEM, the British Science Association acts as secretariat for the Group. The Group is made up of Members of Parliament and Lords, and is a focus for collaboration with businesses and other organisations in the STEM sector.

D&I Academy action plan

The Academy is currently working on reporting departmental progress on action plans. It is developing greater insight into challenges and how best to support further progress. Information gathered will be used to inform an overall Academy plan to be signed off by directors in the autumn.

Academy reports on gender pay gap

As leaders of the engineering D&I Programme, the Academy voluntarily undertook an analysis of the gender pay gap among its own employees.  

The analysis has found that there is currently a pay gap in favour of women when considering mean hourly pay, at -2.19%, but in favour of men when considering median hourly pay gap, at 9.19%.  

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering said “While these data compare well to many engineering organisations, there is some further work to be done to understand our median pay gap and we are not complacent: we will continue to look for opportunities to reduce any bias and promote inclusion and fairness throughout our organisation. Our work to ensure that employees in our own organisation and across the engineering profession as a whole better represent the diversity of UK society, and that bias does not impact pay or career progression, continues to be one of our highest priorities.”

Academy D&I in the media

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Academy CEO, was interviewed by the Financial Times in May. 

More on D&I in the Academy here.

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