Contractors Must Embrace Diversity to Grow Their Business
With the spotlight firmly on the industry’s growing skills shortage and repeated failings to address the gender imbalance, the Building Engineering Services Association urges the sector to focus its attentions on improving its current lack of diversity.
BESA recently reported that just 9% of registered UK engineers are female compared to 18% in Spain and 26% in Sweden, with the UK trailing behind in last place (28/28th) on the EU League table for number of women in engineering.
30% of the staff at world famous engineering consultancy Arup are women, but the company’s board member Dervilla Mitchell said the industry as a whole was facing a crisis. “Lack of women in the industry is exacerbating an already acute talent shortage…creating a social and business problem,” she said.
Around 65% of engineering employers believe a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business and companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse, according to research carried out by Women’s Engineering Society (WES).
New BESA President Malcom Thomson who has become a WES mentor, highlights the urgent need for more diversity within the industry “The emergence of big data, modern ways of working and rapid advancements of building services technology means the sector desperately needs more talented young people with a greater range of skill sets, recruited from a much wider background to keep up”.
Gender is not the only route to diversity however, and more work and support is needed within the industry to embrace other areas including mental health and disabilities.
The Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the Electrical Contactors’ Association (ECA) are joining forces with London South Bank University (LSBU) to host a seminar on 25th October, discussing the range of business benefits contractors can realise by recruiting a workforce from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Presented through a variety of panel discussions, keynotes and case studies, delegates will get advice on supporting workers with disabilities, discover ways to encourage and retain female engineers and take learnings from recent success stories within the industry.
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