Gender Balance in Engineering: The missed opportunity

"Women remain significantly under-represented in our industry, even more so at senior levels" - a talent pool we aren't accessing

Gender Balance in Engineering: The missed opportunity
CW archives
Gender Balance in Engineering: The missed opportunity

There has perhaps never been a time, certainly not in my lifetime, when diversity and inclusion has been so openly discussed and prominent in people’s awareness.

We have a long way to go but with today being International Women in Engineering Day I am particularly reminded of how much further the Engineering and Construction industry must go before we achieve gender balance.

There are countless studies confirming the business benefits of gender balance, not to mention that it is simply fair, so let’s not debate if it’s something to pursue; clearly it is. But while we address the many strands of diversity we must remember, as my colleague Marie-Claude Dumas says, women are not a minority, they are half our population.

Yet, women remain significantly under-represented in our industry, and even more so at senior levels. Simply put, there is a talent pool our industry is not accessing. I am acutely aware my own Leadership Team at WSP Middle East has one female in a team of eleven.

At WSP Middle East, we have been working on gender balance for several years (having identified it as a strategic priority in 2016), and yet progress remains frustratingly slow. We have grown our female population and we do see women progressing in their careers, but I believe we and nearly every part of the industry can do more.

There are no quick fixes either. All the women I have spoken to in our industry want their careers to advance on merit, so amongst many other actions we must grow the pool of female talent by attracting more females to our industry and our industry must be one in which everyone thrives, with equal opportunity.   

I have been in our industry for over twenty years and for me it’s been a hugely positive career path. Nothing has gotten in my way, for which I am very grateful. But is our industry one I could recommend to my eight-year-old daughter?

I’d like to say yes but I’d also like to see some change. So today, International Women in Engineering Day, let’s celebrate our female colleagues, but more importantly let’s all resolve, me included, to make the changes needed to ensure our industry has access to the widest possible resource pool, giving equal access to all.

#WeAreWSP #ShapeTheWorld #INWED20 #WSPforAll

Greg Kane is the CEO of WSP Middle East

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