UK Markets closed

Engineering giants pledge to attract more diverse staff

Christopher Williams
Rolls-Royce engineer - Bloomberg News

A group of Britain’s biggest employers of engineers, including the bosses of BP, Shell, BAE and Rolls-Royce, has pledged to tackle the profession’s lack of diversity.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a coalition of major technical employers said “we must address a lack of diversity in a workforce that is currently 92pc male and 94pc white”.

The signatories include BP chief ­executive Bob Dudley, Shell’s UK chairman Sinead Lynch and BAE’s new chief executive Charles Woodburn. The call, led by Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan, is also backed by the heads of Network Rail and Transport for London, amid mounting concern that Britain is not training enough engineers to renew infrastructure. “It is crucial to the country’s success that more people – and a more diverse group of people – join the profession,” their letter said.

It is estimated that 186,000 new ­engineers will be needed each year to meet demand. The sector is this year collaborating with Government on a Year of Engineering recruitment campaign ­designed to encourage more young people into the profession.

Bosses claimed the perception of the sector is skewed in part because only one in three parents know what an ­engineering job entails.

“Our ambition is to foster better awareness and understanding of engineering in schools and showcase to families the variety and creativity engineering offers, so more young people consider it as a career,” the letter said.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has previously warned of an “old boys’ network” approach in the industry.