The IMarEST has joined the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) in calling for sector-wide culture change and regular benchmarking of progress in order to create an inclusive culture within the UK’s engineering profession.
The initiative follows the publication of the RAEng’s survey of workplace cultures, which gathered opinions from more than 7,000 of the country’s engineers. While 77 percent of respondents said that they like their jobs ‘most or all of the time’, the survey revealed that gender and ethnicity have a significant impact on how engineers view the culture of their profession.
Eighty-two percent of male engineers surveyed said that their gender is irrelevant to how they’re perceived at work, while just 43 percent of their female peers felt the same. Eighty-five percent of black and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents reported that assumptions were made about them based on their ethnicity or nationality, compared with 58 percent of their white colleagues.
The study also found that BAME and female engineers are less likely to speak out about inappropriate workplace conduct than their white and male colleagues.
Though there aren’t published figures on the number of women working in marine STEM in the UK, the numbers are thought to be low in light of global figures. According to the International Transport Workers' Federation, women make up an estimated two percent of the world's maritime workforce.
“The potential untapped talent of women in engineering will undoubtedly be needed to bridge the future skills gap within the industry,” says David Loosley, IMarEST chief executive. “But bridging this gap requires the industry to engage and educate young women on the opportunities available and to ensure that the underlying issues regarding discrimination are rapidly addressed.
"The IMarEST is committed to supporting initiatives to promote and enhance diversity in the marine sector and in wider STEM, and will work with the RAEng, Science Council and other partners worldwide to do so.”