Engineering and science bodies create joint benchmark on diversity
8 Feb 2018
More than 40 engineering scientific bodies have combined to pool data on their performances in promoting diversity and inclusion.
A total of 20 professional engineering institutions (PEIs) and 21 scientific bodies benchmarked their achievements in eight key areas of activity.
It has revealed:
Women are better represented on science bodies than PEI, comprising 34% and 13% respectively
More than half of all professional bodies have boards with more than 30% composed of women
Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals are better represented on PEI boards than scientific ones.
BAME people make up more than 11% of members for 19 of the organisations.
Led jointly by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council, the benchmarking exercise was launched last year.
Society has changed, and become more diverse and that must be reflected in a modern-day science and technology workforce
Belinda Phipps, chief executive, Science Council
It assessed performance in categories including: governance and leadership; membership and professional registration; meetings, conferences and events; education and training, accreditation and examinations; prizes, awards and grants; communications, marketing, outreach and engagement; employment; and monitoring and measuring.
The results revealed that organisations had scored well in the governance and leadership category with diversity and inclusion weakest in education and training, accreditation and exams, as well as prizes, awards and grants.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, commented: “This report highlights that the bodies that make up the professional engineering community are taking their leadership role on D&I seriously, and making good progress in several areas, including setting goals, integrating diversity and inclusion into communications and raising awareness of unconscious bias.
“However, there is more we need to do to identify and formalise success measures, integrate diversity and inclusion into our core functions and activities, and extend the scope of our work beyond gender.”
Her counterpart at the Science Council, Belinda Phipps, added that the framework and benchmarking exercise would enable improvements to the range of people working in science and engineering.
“What was accepted in the past is still too often accepted, even to this day. The leaders in science who set the direction and create the rules by which science is governed, over-represent the academic, male, white and older part of the science workforce,” she said.
“Our society has changed and become more diverse and that must be reflected in a modern-day science and technology workforce and its leadership.”