How do you encourage and maintain diversity in Engineering?

We need to double the number of graduates and apprentices entering engineering. According to EngineeringUK we have a current engineering workforce of 92% male and 94% white. This creates an imperative need for action to increase diversity within the profession at all levels.

While women make up 51% of the working age population, they make up only 14.2% of first-degree students, and 8% of professional engineers. Furthermore, only 6% of professional engineers are BAME. Via the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Only 12.37% of all engineers in the UK are women
According to the ONS, in 2016, from the engineering occupations within the engineering workforce we had 90.7% male, and just 9.3% female. Women comprised 47.1% of the overall UK workforce in 2018, and only 12.37% of workers in engineering occupations were female. The gender pay gap across all industries has narrowed over the past decade, from 27.5% in 1997 to 18.4% in 2017, but in engineering the pay difference is still stark. The median salary in annual gross pay for full time employees across all professional engineering occupations was 18.7% higher for men (£41,545 compared with £35,000 for women). Via EngineeringUK.

The good news is that over the past 5 years nearly 58,000 women have been working as professional engineers. That’s more than double the number we had in 2013 (WISE). Supporting employees for specific demographics based on gender, sexuality, ethnic origin or religion has a direct link to employee retention and engagement as demonstrated in the 2017 study Women Ahead.

Check the initiative
If you would like some support for your business, then check the Build Diversity initiative. Also the WISE initiative, called Ten Steps, in order to improve your recruitment, retention and progression of women. It’s a series of practical measures that companies can take to ensure they are fully benefitting from the potential of women scientists and engineers. The Ten Steps is designed specifically for science, technology and engineering employers.

Let’s set the ball rolling
A company should have a set pay scale, and use it for everyone, no matter the race or any other differences, as long as you fit the criteria. The changes that need to be done may not be quickly to implement for large companies, so why don’t we push these changes among small or medium-sized companies first? If these companies would set the ball rolling, then they can make a real change now because they are not tied up to the corporate hierarchy.

Encourage and maintain diversity
At Marton Recruitment we never require information related to age, sex, race or religion on CVs or application forms. Companies need to stay away from these details as they are not relevant. And offer more flexibility in order to encourage diversity. Flexible working can help with capacity. But, let’s look at flexible working from all perspectives, not just from a female perspective. Men need this as much as women do. Paternity leave is an issue where men are being left behind.

Flexible working is also highly important for people with disabilities. They might have hospital appointments, transport difficulties or other impediments. Working from home is another option. Same as job sharing, when two people are sharing one job.

A company must show and proof their diversity. Write it on the website, share it on social media, and show everyone what you are doing to be a more diverse company. Speak about the number of employees and races, the balance women/men, the age, etc. And don’t forget about the wage levels inside your company. When you have jobs at the same level keep the same salary, no matter if it’s a woman or a man.

Remember: you are not hiring a name or a race, a man or a woman, you are employing a skills’ set, based on the individual capabilities.

Here are 10 ways to promote gender diversity when hiring.