Increasing female participation in the engineering profession is crucial to Australia’s economic future, according to Engineers Australia Board Member the Hon Trish White.
At recent International Women’s Day events in Sydney and Melbourne, Ms White FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer said that the engineering profession needs to do more to achieve gender equity.
“Just 12 per cent of engineers working in Australia are women,” Ms White said.
“To perform at its best, the profession must draw on all Australians, but its gender profile is unbalanced.
“Despite the business case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace being well-established, it is not implemented widely enough.”
Engineers Australia is committed to achieving gender equity and inclusion so that the profession’s workforce is appropriately representative when it comes to gender diversity.
Ms White said that Engineers Australia is taking an active role in achieving gender equity through education and by setting standards of best practice and partnering with policy makers.
“We will advocate for change by providing guidance to our members, encouraging good practice within the industries that employ engineers, partnering with governments to implement policies to drive change and encourage diversity, and showing the general community that engineering is a role for everyone,” she said.
Of the qualified engineers who remain in engineering related employment, 64 per cent of males remain compared to 51 per cent of females.
The Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency said that this retention disparity is a result of many factors, one of which is the significant gender pay gap.
“Across the top three industries that employ engineers (engineering design and consultancy services, manufacturing, and construction), the national pay gap for professionals is in favour of men by up to 22%.”
Achieving workplace gender equality requires clear and measurable targets.
Ms White said that leading by example, Engineers Australia adopted the Australian Institute of Company Directors target in 2015 to have 30 per cent female representation on its Board.
“Now, three of the seven Board members are women (43 per cent) and three members are also under the age of 47,” she said.
“Our focus in 2017 is to increase leadership opportunities for female engineers through Engineers Australia’s many and varied activities, and to work with all our leadership groups to ensure strong representation of our female engineers.”
Engineers Australia hosted International Women’s Day Luncheons in Melbourne and Sydney together with partners, AECOM, Arup, Deakin University, Defence Force Recruiting, and Jacobs on 8 and 9 March 2017.
Education partners Engineering Education Australia and Lighthouse are hosting two workshops designed to address and improve business performance through advancing women in leadership:
Ready, Set, Lead for Emerging Leaders lays the foundations for future leadership success by providing key tools for making the transition from individual contributor to manager of individuals.
Purpose, Power, Presence for Middle Managers is an essential workshop for moving into higher level positions. Course content ensures participants are seen to have the business savvy needed for advancement.
Image: The Hon Trish White speaking at the Engineers Australia International Women's Day Lunch on 8 March at the Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne.