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Diversity in Engineering

By Rob Bemment

As an executive search consultant specialising in engineering roles across the UK and Europe, I’ve seen first-hand how teams thrive when they embrace diversity of thought, experience, and background. In today’s hyper-competitive talent landscape, companies cannot afford to overlook vast swaths of the workforce. Those who actively cultivate diversity within their engineering ranks gain a substantial competitive edge (and that can only be a good thing in todays world!)

The numbers speak for themselves – study after study links diversity to increased innovation, better problem solving, higher employee engagement and retention.

McKinsey found companies in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity are 35% and 15% more likely to outperform their less diverse peers, respectively. Closing the gender gap in STEM could boost European GDP by around $700 billion. Clearly, diversity pays dividends.

But diversity is about more than just ticking boxes. True inclusion means fostering an environment where every individual feels empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. As recruiters, we play a pivotal role in shaping the workforce of the future. Here are a few key strategies I employ to inject more diversity into engineering hiring:

Rethink conventional credentials: While academic pedigree matters, an exclusive focus on graduates from a handful of elite universities often means overlooking fantastic candidates from underrepresented groups. I dig deeper to unearth rising stars from non-traditional backgrounds.

Expand the talent pool: From coding bootcamps to self-taught whizzes, unconventional pathways are opening up engineering to individuals who may have been shut out previously. I’ve placed many brilliant developers who took the road less travelled.

Prioritise inclusive workplaces: Clients doing genuine cultural work to support women, minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals and other underrepresented groups get priority. I refuse to work with firms that treat diversity as an empty catchphrase.

Walk the walk: My own search process is carefully designed to mitigate unconscious bias, emphasising skills-based assessments over pedigree, qualifications and alma maters that can disadvantage minority candidates.

Building a more equitable future workforce is both an ethical imperative and a savvy business strategy. Research shows diverse companies don’t just do better – they view challenges through a richer lens and simply engineer better solutions. Unlocking the full potential of human capital is essential for solving the complex, multidimensional challenges we face on a global scale.

So to the engineering leaders reading this – are you truly going beyond tokenism to embed diversity into your organisation’s core values and talent processes? The economic and social impacts are too great to ignore. It’s time to walk the walk.

Get in touch with Rob to see how he can support you as you walk the walk towards a more diverse workforce:

Call: +44 1606 212020

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: Rob Bemment

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