Increasing diversity in engineering

July 31, 2019

Engineering is vital to the UK’s productivity and economic state as it generates nearly a quarter (23%) of the UK’s turnover  yet there’s an increasing shortfall of talent from younger generations that will be looked upon to sustain and grow the industry further over the next 10-15 years. 
With around 60,000 graduates required to fill technician and engineering roles, it’s a pressing time for the sector to do more in terms of engaging and attracting a more diverse set of talent to survive and thrive in the future. If a business can even become more gender diverse, they are 15% more likely to perform better. 

Dawn Childs, president of the Women’s Engineering Society, highlights the importance of improving gender diversity: “There are still far too few women who even understand what engineering is let alone choose to become an engineer…. We want to transform the future by encouraging women to start a career in engineering, or by supporting them to thrive in their current engineering career.”

Capita’s Solutions Director, Dugald McIntosh discusses the importance of increasing diversity in engineering, why the future will be female and how Capita Resourcing are pioneering this change as we join to #transformthefuture.

In the last few years I have seen a significant improvement in the effort organisations put in to attracting more female engineers. It’s moved from lip service to real investment and doing things differently. You can see it in the way companies invest in attraction and the working environments, however we know that the real issue is that we need to make the impact in the schools. It’s at age 14 at the time where students start to choose their GCSE subjects that we need to persuade girls that engineering can be a future career for them.

As a result, we need more of our great engineering companies doing schools outreach - Getting kids into STEM and showing young girls what the future could look like. We know by looking at the example of China and Eastern Europe where more than 35% of Engineers are women that by breaking down the gender stereotypes we will see a better gender balance.

We know that when things are invented by mixed gender teams you get better outcomes. Not only do you get better performing teams, but single gender design is also dangerous. The internet is littered with examples of products which forgot the needs of half our population!

At Capita, we know we have a role to promote engineering carriers and get more diverse candidates into the funnel. So, we partner with Teach First and STEM Ambassadors where we outreach to schools to promote STEM. We also have a business where we recruit graduates with STEM degrees and train them in to become Software Developers before deploying them onto client projects. This is a great way of not only addressing skills gaps, but also allows us to put in place interventions to address diversity shortages.

We recruit 1000’s of people into technical roles each year either directly for Capita or to work on our client’s projects. This has allowed us to develop some great practical tools to help Capita and our clients recruit more women into engineering roles. We ran a ‘20by20’ project with Network Rail which has a target of 20% female engineers by 2020. We have changed the way we attract candidates and deliver candidate CV’s so that they are either gender neutral or targeted to promote applications from specific diversity groups which has increased the number of women being successfully placed into technical roles by 22%. We also work with our clients to help them understand how the recruitment process, work environment and behaviours impact their ability to not only attract more women, but also retain them.

To find out more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives, or to speak with our experts on how our specific talent services could help your organisation reach and attain a much more diverse talent pool, get in touch with us today. 



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