Why is diversity important in engineering? According to, the Royal Academy of Engineering, addressing diversity and inclusion not only helps to bridge the UK’s engineering skills gap, it also drives innovation and creativity.
“Addressing diversity and inclusion will not only help bridge this gap, it will also help drive innovation and creativity”.Royal Academy of Engineering
They present a business case for diversity which includes:
- Addressing the engineering skills gap;
- Improved financial importance;
- Greater innovation and creativity;
- Inclusion-driven higher business performance;
- Increased motivation, productivity and retention;
- Improved customer orientation, and
- Increased customer satisfaction.
Retention of women in engineering in particular received attention this summer when UWE’s Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs published their paper ‘Catch 22 — improving visibility of women in science and engineering for both recruitment and retention‘. Drawing on their mentoring and outreach project Women Like Me, which relaunches next week, they propose that enhancing self-efficacy (Laura Fogg Rogers, along with Dr Tim Moss, also recently published research on a new Engineering Outreach Self-Efficacy Scale) for female scientists and engineers to mentor others will generate more supportive workplaces. Alongside this, supporting a female STEM professionals to undertake public engagement activities improves the visibility of diverse female role models for young girls. Ultimately, these social connections will enhance science capital for girls and other minorities.
Diversity in engineering isn’t just important in the UK. Sharon L. Walker writes about why diversity is key to the future of engineering for the University of California, highlighting the low proportion of women and people with Latino and African-American heritage in the US engineering workforce. Innovation and talent, profit, fair treatment and shifting demographics are explored as some of the reasons behind the need for a more diverse future workforce.
And Kerry Baker, posting on STEM Learning on the importance of diversity in engineering, explains how this affects all of us:
“…have you ever used something and thought: “This doesn’t work how I would like it to” or “If I’d made this I would have put it together differently”? If the answer is yes, then this is the reason why engineering needs people from all backgrounds and walks of life, it needs people with all sorts of different life experiences and thought processes”.STEM Learning