Greater collaboration between schools, universities, business and government is the most effective way to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the engineering sector, according to a new report.
Funded by the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub, led by the University of Plymouth, the scoping report examines the current state of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in engineering, with a focus on the offshore renewable energy industry and academia.
It outlines an action plan which focuses on short, medium and longer term initiatives to help improve EDI in the sector, considering each stage of education and career development.
Some of the key findings from the report, being launched at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind 2020 conference, include:
- 51% of the population of primary school STEM education is female, however significant numbers are lost at each stage of education and career progression meaning that only around 5% of senior engineering roles are held by women.
- Only 7.8% of professional engineers are from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
- There are many groups working towards the goal of improving EDI in engineering but there is a lack of collaboration. Groups and organisations need to cooperate better to work towards overall common objectives.
- There is generally a focus on ‘diversity’ and a lack of attention given to ‘equality’ and ‘inclusion’. Examination of cultural factors is needed to improve these two areas in organisations.
- A focus on intersectionality is important and a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work in the long term.
The Supergen ORE Hub is a £9million initiative created in July 2018 with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It brings together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to champion and maintain the UK’s wave, tidal and offshore wind expertise.
It is led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, who was made an OBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Marine Renewable Energy, Equalities and Higher Education, and was listed by the Women’s Engineering Society among its Top 50 Women in Engineering: Sustainability earlier this year.