Engineers Australia is committed to an engineering profession that is as diverse as the community it serves and as the peak body for Australian engineering, we must lead the way.
This commitment involves working across cultural, institutional, societal and organisational factors with our members, industry partners, government agencies, academia and the broader community that limit diversity and inclusion in the profession.
Engineers Australia is committed to achieving at least 30% female representation on the Board of Directors, College Boards and other National Committees by 2020.
We are well on our way to achieving this goal, but there is still work to do. See how we are performing to our targets here.
Our member Guidelines on Professional Conduct, which encourage members to apply skills without bias, discrimination or harassment and to support and encourage diversity.
Diversity and Inclusion Positioning Statement
Our positioning statement is guided by the organisation’s strategic goals to create tomorrow’s engineers, provide a professional home for life and be the trusted voice of the profession.
The purpose of the document is to inform industry, academia and government stakeholders and our members of the actions that Engineers Australia is undertaking to promote diversity and inclusion within our profession, and to provide tools and information to assist our stakeholders and members implement their own diversity and inclusion goals and actions.
What is diversity?
A diverse workplace understands that each individual is unique, recognising individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, or other ideologies. They are the same attributes that represent our diverse community.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion, while closely related, is a separate concept from diversity. An inclusive workplace can be defined as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organisation’s success”.
An inclusive culture is about creating a deep sense of belonging, where every employee is valued and their ideas heard.
Engineers Australia's commitment
Engineers Australia is committed to representing and supporting our profession towards achieving a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
We demonstrate this commitment by participating in a number of activities, including the following:
- Promoting gender diversity through participation in the Male champions of Change (MCC) STEM Group.
- Ongoing focus on gender balance and female membership through the national Women in Engineering committee.
- Promoting diversity and inclusion best practice as an active member of the Diversity Council.
- Promoting our LGBTQI+ activities as an active member of Pride in Diversity.
- Further developing our Indigenous Engineers Group (IEG) activities and membership through the College of Leadership and Management.
- Creating an InterEngineer community to support our LGBTQI+ engineers.
- Working in partnership with allied bodies to assist our members and the engineering community to achieve their diversity goals.
Practical Implementation for our Profession
As part of our commitment, Engineers Australia will continue to assist industry partners and academia achieve their diversity and inclusion goals by providing meaningful resources addressing important areas such as:
- According to the Australia Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) the gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce. It is not the difference between two people being paid differently for work of the same or comparable value, which is unlawful. This is called equal pay.
The gender pay gap is an internationally established measure of women’s position in economy in comparison to men. It is the result of the social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime.
The gender pay gap is influenced by several factors, including:
- conscious and unconscious discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions
- women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages
- lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles
- high rates of part-time work for women
- women’s greater time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities impacting career progression and opportunities.
- women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work
- The absence of diversity, and notably women, at public professional forums is a problem. Because speakers are usually male, audiences are given an exclusive perspective. The lack of diversity limits the quality of the conversation. Moreover, when visible role models are male, absence of women perpetuates absence of women. Fewer women choose to speak, and fewer are chosen. Compounding this problem is that without the opportunity to serve on panels women lack profile-building opportunities, which is an important contributor to experience and recognition.
To ensure that we are attracting the best possible talent, and not influenced by unconscious bias, a review of how we recruit for roles, the language we use in job ads, the opportunity of flexibility with the role etc should undertaken regularly. There are a number of resources and companies that can assist with this review, including the Diversity Council of Australia (of which you need to be member). Below are sources of information provided free on the Male Champions of Change website:
Unconscious bias or hidden bias is defined by the Australia Public Service Commission as 'a normal human prejudice' about people or groups of people. It happens automatically and is triggered by our making quick assessments of people and situations based on our own background, culture and personal experiences.
There are several organisations that run unconscious bias training for employers and their staff. Search online for a provider near you.
Mentoring and sponsorship programs, both within and organisation and between organisations are important to encourage advancement of all employees through their careers. They are very different in their approach:
- Mentoring definition – to advise or train someone, especially a younger or more inexperienced colleague
- Sponsorship - A workplace sponsor is traditionally someone in a position in a company that is able to guide and influence your progress through the maze and politics of advancement. A sponsor takes an employee they think has potential and guides them in a different manner than a mentor or supporter would.
What is the difference between a mentor and a sponsor? A mentor advises the mentee; sponsors advocate for their protégés. A mentor can be anyone in a position of experience, while a sponsor is a senior-level executive.
Read more here:
Creating and maintaining inclusive and respectful workplaces allows employees from all backgrounds and walks of life to achieve their fullest potential. An inclusive culture is one that accepts, values and views as strength the difference we all bring to the table.
There are a number of resources online, both reading materials and organisations that can guide your approach to creating an inclusive workplace culture.
Engineers Australia is a proud member of the Male Champions of Change STEM Group and there are a number of resources on their website including:
A flexible work arrangement is an agreement between a workplace and an employee to change the standard working arrangement to better accommodate an employee's commitments out of work. Flexible working arrangements usually encompass changes to the hours, pattern and location of work.
Flexibility in the workplace allows employers and employees to make arrangements about working conditions that suit them. This helps employees maintain a work / life balance and can help employers improve the productivity and efficiency of their business.
It is important the opportunity to participate in caring responsibilities for children are available equally to both partners. We would encourage you to evaluate your current parental leave entitlements, researching what other organisations are delivering in this space, and reviewing some of the below resources, including an example of Diageo’s increased commitment to parental leave.