Diversity and BLM
In recent months, we’ve been given a wake up call. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and public coverage of recent incidents have highlighted the everyday racism that continues to plague society.
We actively welcome diversity in the Whitby Wood workplace but these events have compelled us to re-examine ourselves. We can do more.
To try to find out more about the current situation in engineering, we looked for figures. For example: in 2015 in the UK — according to the Royal Academy of Engineering — six months after graduation, 71% of white engineering graduates were in full time employment but only 51% of Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) graduates were full time employed. This demonstrates a clear disparity between the diversity of skilled graduates and the composition of the workforce. It shows that BAME graduates face barriers to employment that their white counterparts do not.
We want to be honest with ourselves and with the wider construction community: as with society in general, there is also a problem with racism in our industry. We need to actively work to address this and to dismantle the barriers. The present situation does not reflect the diversity of talent in the industry or the country.
As a team, it has always been our vision that our people are the most important thing. We have been holding internal forums to discuss the experiences, thoughts and emotions of our colleagues and have worked collectively to pinpoint ways forward.
We have decided on the following initial actions:
FIRSTLY, to expand on our current and community engagement activities …
— We will focus on promoting engineering to young people of all backgrounds when undertaking community engagement work with local students.
— We will support anti-racist charities.
SECONDLY, to undertake the following initiatives, expanding on our current policies …
— We will encourage the engineering institutions to publish diversity data now and in the future, helping the industry to interrogate itself better.
— We will publish any data that we collect ourselves concerning the composition of our own team, including different levels.
— We will provide diversity training for members of our team, particularly those involved in management and hiring. This will help us better understand the issues, enabling further action. For the training, we will forge links with charities/organisations that promote diversity in engineering.