So, the more Engineers we have coming through universities the more innovation we’ll have. Sounds great. More of that please.
But our Engineering tribe – well, we have a look don’t we? Historically we were a rung up from the boiler suit types and Engineering has been known as ‘old, white, male and dry’, we’re being kind. When we look at the ABS stats it’s no wonder.
Men make up the overwhelming majority, 92% of those with higher level qualifications in Engineering, and when we look broader to STEM, 71% of people who work in STEM are born overseas. So, there is in fact a cultural diversity that is taking place in STEM and in Engineering, but it’s not enough.
Diversity is considered critical in industries where innovation is key – namely STEM and Engineering. The more diverse we are as an industry the more innovative we’ll be.
While we all want the best person for the job, the right skill set, the right culture fit, maybe our industry should also add a diversity filter into our hiring practices. Especially when we know how important diversity can be for engagement and the bottom line for business and industry. But without a compelling argument it won’t happen.
So here are 4 reasons to achieve diversity:
- Diversity Broadens Our Vision: One-sided perspectives smother innovation. Diverse teams give us a yin and yang, a renegade and a traditionalist. By bouncing ideas, and having various perceptions we can come to some robust decision making.
- It Strengthens Capabilities: According to the Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality agency, businesses that value diversity “are better able to attract and retain high performers and improve operational performance.” Errr yes please!
- It Drives Customer Satisfaction: We are all virtual, businesses can sell to customers everywhere and at any time. If businesses want to keep up must adapt to diverse client and customer demographic. If your employees don’t mirror that they are disconnected.
- Diversity Improves the Bottom Line: Diverse businesses are more profitable. BANG!
What’s your experience of diversity in Engineering? Or lack thereof?
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Diversity Council of Australia
Workplace Gender Equality Agency