Research shows many companies are struggling to ensure women are represented fairly in top management and in retention numbers. Progress toward gender parity remains slow and the engineering profession is one of the few licensed professions where men continue to vastly outnumber women.
Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 is a collaborative national initiative to increase the number of women in the engineering profession. This initiative has a goal of raising the percentage of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30 per cent by the year 2030; currently this figure is at 18.1 per cent, a number that has held steady over the last several years. Thirty per cent is universally understood as the tipping point for sustainable change—reaching 30 by 30 will tap into the entire engineering talent pool as more and more women continue to enter the profession.
Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 network invites employers to join the collaborative effort to change organizational cultures, be intolerant to harassment and discrimination, promote policies that enable work-life balance within the engineering profession, and create more welcoming workplace environments. We are working to make the engineering profession welcoming to all women, which makes this an important diversity and inclusion effort that we all need to act on today.
What can employers do?
- Leadership commitment – Direction and support needs to start at the top and come from the executive and the Board.
- Nominate a Champion – Who participates in the 30 by 30 Champions’ network and actively engages in the 30 by 30 Industry working group to help you on your journey.
- Create a plan – Outline your company’s actions, metrics to monitor progress, and resources that will lead to an improved experience for women and other underrepresented groups in the engineering profession and achieving the 30 per cent goal.
- Understand your employees – Before you focus on recruiting more women, understand the women in your company (i.e. why do they stay? why might they leave?) and work to support their retention. Collect metrics on the number of engineers who are women in your company). Expand to include other demographics (ie. age, visible minorities, LGBTQ2+, visible/non-visible disabilities).
- Attract new women – Improve hiring practices (i.e. gender-neutral language, gender balanced interview panels, etc.), connect with universities and graduates and strive towards recruiting 30 per cent women.
- Career advancement – Provide supports for women, such as licensure assistance programs (ie. training, professional practice exam work groups, etc.) as a means of facilitating their pathway towards licensure and invest in their career advancement by sponsoring professional development and leadership training for engineers who are women
- Share and apply best practices – What is working for increasing women’s participation and diversity in engineering amongst the 30 by 30 Champions?
Download this guide that the 30 by 30 network has compiled with various tactics that can increase diversity and women’s participation at various levels of an organization.