Spring 2019

Inclusive recruitment workshop

On the 4 March 2019, the Academy and Business in the Community jointly hosted an inclusive recruitment workshop. 

Thirty-six representatives from engineering employers, academia and PEIs participated in a thought-provoking afternoon to find out how they could make their own recruitment processes more inclusive.

Sandra Kerr, Race Equality Director at Business in the Community, gave a keynote speech about why an inclusive recruitment and selection process is key to making a difference and to increasing the diversity of people who are employed in engineering.

The workshop was based around the Inclusive Recruitment Toolkit which was launched by the Academy in 2018. The toolkit was developed by the Academy’s D&I Leadership Group (DILG).


Developing a D&I framework for small and medium-sized enterprises

The D&I and Enterprise Hub teams at the Academy are working jointly to develop a framework that will build on the PEIs framework to support improvements in D&I across small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Analysis by the Office of National Statistics for EngineeringUK indicates that the ‘engineering industry’ is dominated by smaller firms (those with under 50 staff), which account for 98% of all engineering businesses in the UK. This means that any attempt to increase D&I across engineering must actively engage with smaller employers.

The new framework will be specifically designed for organisations employing 250 people or less - including startups, scale-ups and steady-state SMEs. It will be proportionate to organisation size, address SME D&I needs and aspirations, challenge the status quo and use a maturity model approach to support the integration of D&I across organisational functions. In addition, it will address D&I in relation to recruitment and retention of people, as well as the risk of a lack of diversity in engineering design teams impacting on the appropriateness and effectiveness of engineering outputs and products.

To successfully deliver this project, the Academy is seeking engagement with SMEs to inform both the research and the pilot phases of framework development. Please get in touch if you would like to know more or to be involved.


Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme

“The GEEP event has been an amazing experience. I am leaving feeling significantly more prepared for my graduate applications. I would highly recommend this programme to anybody looking to apply for a graduate scheme, at any stage of their career.” (GEEP student 2019)

Employer involvement in the Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP) continues to grow. Between September and December 2018, four events were held by the Academy, BuroHappold, Aston University and BAE Systems. The events had 184 student attendees. Of these, 28% were women, 91% were from ethnic minority backgrounds, and 80% were from the newer post-92 universities or from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The events are followed up with individual support from Standards for Educational Opportunity (SEO) for students who are applying for graduate and internship roles. For the first time this year, students who secure internships will be offered mentoring – with mentors drawn from programmes including the Academy’s Engineering Leaders Scholarships programme and the Queen Elizabeth Prize Global Engineering Ambassadors.

The aim of GEEP is to increase the transition of engineering graduates from diverse backgrounds into engineering employment – with a focus on ethnic minority, female and socioeconomically disadvantaged engineering students from the newer post-92 universities. The programme is led by the Academy and delivered in partnership with SEO London and 16 engineering employers.

The Academy is in the process of recruiting new employers to the programme by 10 May 2019.To find out more or get involved contact us


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group

The D&I Leadership Group (DILG) is a group of engineering employer and employer-led organisations collaborating to increase D&I in engineering. It consists of a strategic steering group and action groups that implement action on the ground.

Majority Allies Action Group - The Majority Allies Action Group is developing a toolkit to support people who are, or wish to be, allies for D&I in engineering.

It is made up of engineering employer representatives and chaired by Loraine Martins, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail. The idea for the toolkit and proposed contents were tested through a survey in November 2018, which 361 people responded to.

The action group have defined "ally" and "majority" as:

Ally : A person who actively promotes and has a passion for diversity and inclusion, supports those who may be different to themselves and stands up to actively combat barriers to inclusion.

Majority: The diversity group representing a notable majority in a given characteristic.

The summary of the results of the survey were:

1.   People are motivated to be an ally from an emotional standpoint – understanding that people are treated unfairly and a need to address injustice.

2.   Understanding, help and support from colleagues for what they are trying to achieve has helped people in being allies.

3.   The main barriers and challenges that people have faced have been uncertainty around what the best thing to do is, and a lack of understanding of the ally role. In some instances, it appears that there is a lack of organisational support for the role.

4.   Allies reported that they would like a clear role profile, information on best practice and a vehicle for sharing stories.

The action group will produce a toolkit to support current and future allies based on the feedback from the survey. This toolkit will include:

1.   A description of what allies do

2.   Information on the language of D&I

3.   Guidance for employers

4.   Case studies and stories from allies.

If you are willing to share your story of being an ally, please contact us. The toolkit will be launched in autumn 2019.

Leveraging the Culture Action Group - The Leveraging the Culture Action Group is considering using two aspects of the culture of engineering, as defined by the Creating cultures where all engineers thrive report to improve inclusion.

The group is chaired by David Jenkins, Engineering Practice Director - Transportation at Atkins, and is made up of representatives from a range of engineering employers.

The group will improve inclusion by developing material to support project management and team working across engineering organisations. The involves development of a series of learning interventions a project team can use when they first come together. with the aim of ensuring the culture that develops within the team is inclusive. The learning interventions will be launched by the end of 2019.

Closing the engineering gender pay gap - The introduction of gender pay gap reporting in 2018 has provided an opportunity for renewed focus on increasing women in engineering.

The Academy will develop a profession-wide plan to close the engineering gender pay gap, through a partnership with the WISE Campaign, which produced the industry-led campaign, Ten steps for retaining women in STEM. The Academy has commissioned the WISE Campaign, in partnership with Verditer - an equal pay consultancy, to deliver a thorough analysis of the pay gap across engineering organisations and between individual engineers. They will also investigate the causes of the gap and develop an effective action plan to close it. The development of the plan addresses a public commitment made by the Academy in 2018 in response to gender pay gap reporting.

The Academy will also partner with the Women’s Engineering Society in 2019, its centenary year, to deliver a survey on the experiences of female and male engineers. These will be fed into the development of the gender pay gap action plan to ensure that it considers both the views of engineering employers and engineers themselves.

The Academy will bring engineering employers together at different stages of the project to ensure that the investigation is thorough and that key actions in the resulting plan are likely to have a positive impact on increasing and progressing women across the sector – especially into more senior roles.

If you are an engineering employer seeking to find out more about this, or want to get involved, please contact us.


Autumn 2018 

DILG update

The DILG is a network of over 60 engineering employer and employer-led organisations interesting in collaborating to share and develop effective approaches to addressing diversity and inclusion challenges faced by the engineering sector. Through it, employers work collaboratively in action groups led by the Academy, with the aim of increasing D&I across engineering employment.

Since the last newsletter in February 2018, three action groups have completed their work with outputs as follows:

Inclusive recruitment action group – the output from this group, an inclusive recruitment toolkit, was launched at an Academy event, Improving diversity in engineering graduate recruitment, and is now available on Academy website. It has already received great feedback, which will be used to inform a future event to be scheduled in March 2019. The event will share good practice on how engineering employers can make their recruitment and selection more inclusive.

Paul Oatham, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Bechtel, who chaired the action group said:

“Any organisation that believes creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce is a business imperative will recognise recruitment as a key enabler. Our aim was to create a toolkit that is particularly relevant to the engineering sector and that is as useful to SMEs as the larger organisations. Whether you wish to overhaul your complete process or are looking for ideas about tackling specific challenges, we hope you will find this of practical help.”

D&I measurement in engineering action group – the group has developed a set of 16 measures for use by engineering employers of any size. The measures give employers a framework for measuring D&I across key employment activities in a way that reflects their D&I needs and plans. The measures have been tested by both large corporate companies and SMEs, who gave positive feedback with many indicating they will use the measuresgoing forward. The measurement framework will  be available in October and formally launched at the D&I Programme annual event on the 27 November, Data Driven Culture Change. 
D&I in procurement action group – this group has contributed to the production of guidelines to support leveraging D&I in the procurement and supply chain of engineering companies in the highways and transportation sector. The report gives examples of good practice, a checklist and recommendations that organisations can adopt to ensure supply chains support their D&I aspirations. The guidelines will be available at the end of 2018.
Implementing recommendations from the Creating cultures where all engineers thrive report – two new action groups were set up in April 2018 to address recommendations from the Creating cultures where all engineers thrive report. The two recommendations the DILG is focused on implementing are ‘how to leverage the current culture within engineering to increase inclusion’ and ’building a critical mass of allies equipped to support inclusion across engineering’. These groups have met twice since April and are in the process of agreeing and formalising the content of outputs for delivery in 12 to 18 months’ time. If you are interested in getting involved in either or both groups, please contact us. 


Gender pay gap reporting across engineering

During 2017, in the run-up to the gender pay gap reporting deadline of 4 April 2018, the Academy D&I programme convened two roundtables to discuss the implications of reporting the gender pay gap across engineering employment with 15 engineering employers. Based on discussion and analysis of a snapshot of sector data, the following insights emerged:
  • There is a risk of confusion between the gender pay gap and equal pay. The former is a calculation of the difference in aggregated pay of women and men across an organisation and at different levels; while the latter is about ensuring women and men are paid the same for work of equal value. The gender pay gap is more a reflection of the distribution of women and men across an organisation – rather than an indication of pay inequality for the same job or role.
  • There is a risk that women may be put off entering the sector through a misunderstanding that gender pay gaps mean they will not be paid equally.
  • A primary driver of the gender pay gap in the sector is the lack of women at the top of organisations, as more senior roles attract a higher salary and are more likely to earn larger bonuses.
  • A focus on increasing women at entry levels in organisations will increase the pay gap as roles at more junior levels attract lower salaries.
  • The inequality in bonus calculation is penalising organisations that are removing barriers to progression by introducing more part-time roles.
  • Part-time working, mostly taken up by women, widens bonus gaps because these are not calculated on a pro-rata basis.
  • Some functions within a business, for instance engineering functions, attract higher salaries than other functions, such as customer service. This means that the specific pay gap between female and male engineers is obscured when reporting occurs at company level.
  • It was noted that the Office of National Statistics does not report on engineering as a sector. This means a full understanding of the sector pay gap is not be possible without further analysis.
  • There may be a risk of confusing positive action and positive discrimination – the former being legal in line with the Equality Act 2010 and the latter, in most cases is illegal. Organisations seeking to close the gender pay gap must ensure that it is done transparently and in line with good practice.
  • In response to the above, the Academy D&I programme is planning its own analysis of gender pay gap data in engineering. This analysis will be used to identify trends or patterns in the data; identify organisations that have small gaps for investigation; and produce an engineering-wide gender equality action plan that makes recommendations concerning recruitment, retention and career progression.
Organisations wanting to reduce gender pay gap and remove barriers to progression may want to find out more about the industry led ten STEPS campaign. The Academy published a response to engineering gender pay gap reporting in early April 2018.
For more on D&I programme work to close the gender pay gap, email divesityteam@raeng.org.uk


Graduate Engineering Engagement programme (GEEP)

 On 25 June, 80 people attended an event at the Academy to launch an employer-led Graduate Engineering Engagement Programme (GEEP). The programme encourages more diverse engineering graduates to transition into engineering employment.

The Academy’s focus on graduate recruitment is driven by its data analysis that revealed that while 27% of UK engineering graduates are from ethnic minority backgrounds, only 7.8% are in engineering employment. There is also a shortfall of UK female engineering graduates (16%) entering engineering employment, with only 9.3% working in engineering.
Sixteen engineering employers are signed up to the GEEP and more engineering employers are invited to join.  If you are an employer and would like to know more about how to get involved, please contact us. Find out more about Academy work with employers here

Find the full newsletter here