Industry leaders urge “candid discussion” on diversity failings in new film

A “talking heads” film launched yesterday to mark the annual Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) conference, is intended to instigate an “open, candid discussion” across the engineering industry about why it fails to attract a wider pool of creative talent, particularly women.

The “Engineering Change” film, produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers, see’s leading industry figures –such as Michele Dix from Crossrail 2 and Rachel Skinner from WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff – share their experiences, set out what they think is blocking change and what industry can do to be more inclusive and ensure it attracts a diverse workforce that is reflective of society.

While female applications to ICE are slowly rising, with graduate numbers at 18%, women still only represent 10% of ICE’s total membership and the figure is consistent across the wider engineering community.

The industry leaders in the film discuss the need to make engineering careers more visible, generate more flexible, inclusive work practices that cater to the busy lives of all employees, eliminate unconscious bias against candidates during recruitment, and showcase more women engineers for young people to aspire to – not just women who have reached the top of the career ladder but those who have managed to achieve that and have a family.

They throw down the gauntlet to industry as whole to take action and deliver change that makes joining – and staying – in the industry a more attractive prospect for all.

“Any organisation or profession will be stronger and more creative if it can draw from a wealth of people, backgrounds and experiences, and will better serve its clients and society if it reflects the diversity of our communities," said ICE South West director and producer of the film Miranda Housden.

“But we can only tap into this wider pool by making ourselves more inclusive and attractive, and making this happen is a challenge for the whole industry. We can start with an open, candid discussion about what is holding us back and the steps that can be taken - in both a practical and cultural sense.  We hope this film, and the leading inspirational figures who feature in it and want to see change, really kick starts the debate.”

Contributors to the film:

Rachel Skinner, Director, Development, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff

Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Ed McCann, Director, Expedition

Dervilla Mitchell, Director, Arup

Anne-Marie Tuck, Principal Engineer, Black and Veatch

Sarah Shaw, Wise Campaign Communications Director, WISE

Nick Baveystock, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers

Joanne Chau, HS2 Senior Area Engineer, High Speed Two (HS2)

Jackie Roe, Delivery Manager East, Tideway

Nathan Baker, Director of Engineering Knowledge, Institution of Civil Engineers

Dr Michèle Dix, Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Danna Walker, Project Manager, Construction Industry Council

Melanie Ogden, Project Manager, Northern Line Extension, Transport for London

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