Engineers Australia’s National Professional Development Team has steered a significant increase in the number of female speakers included across our suite of events, making our online continuing professional development program (CPD) more diverse and inclusive.
Outlined in our Strategy on a Page, one of Engineers Australia’s goals is to foster supportive pathways for engineering cohorts by creating a more diverse and engaged engineering workforce.
Engineers Australia runs a comprehensive program of CPD to support members with their career development. These activities include tertiary and short courses, webinars, hybrid events, conferences, technical presentations, publications, networking and volunteering opportunities.
With the move to fully virtual and online CPD events in 2020 the National Professional Development team were able to catalogue and thereby measure gender representation within our program, based on the gender of speakers featured at our events.
The team found speakers were, on average, 80 per cent male and 20 per cent female. This prompted our staff, volunteers and office bearers to work together to build a more diverse representation of the workforce in Engineers Australia’s educational resources.
By highlighting that Engineers Australia is a signatory of the Panel Pledge and working towards increasing the visibility and contribution of women leaders in public and professional forums, our team was able to increase female representation in the CPD program by close to 30 per cent.
Over 18 months, we have collectively moved from 80 per cent male and 20 per cent female representation, to 53 per cent male and 47 per cent female.
Kimberly White, Senior Manager of Professional Development at Engineers Australia, says ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce improves staff engagement, enhances decision-making and can improve business outcomes and profitability.
“As the voice of the profession, Engineers Australia represents the diverse communities we serve. With around 50 per cent of the community being female, we knew we had to make a change,” White says.
One of the groups that the National Professional Development team worked closely with was the civil and structural group in Sydney.
Chris Turnbull FIEAust CPEng, from the Sydney Civil and Structural group says, seeking gender balance in our speakers across the annual program is a good initiative.
Engineers Australia's commitment to diversity includes working across cultural, institutional, societal and organisational factors. This step to increase female representation in our CPD program is a step forward for diversity and representation within the profession.
At Engineers Australia increasing female representation is one of a number of diversity initiatives we are undertaking.
You can find out more about our Diversity and Inclusion commitments and programs in our Diversity and Inclusion positioning statement.