Why is Diversity in Engineering Important?

Has a lack of diversity in engineering limited the profession’s success thus far? Engineering and STEM fields, in general, tend to be primarily occupied by white males. As a professional engineering society, we recognize that diversity within our industry is so important. Professional engineers across the country are working to raise awareness, start a conversation, and take meaningful steps to make a difference within the engineering profession. While we can’t change our past, we can take control of the future.

The call for diversity in engineering has become more urgent. Last June, NSPE President David Martini, P.E., F.NSPE, delivered a statement on the growing protests across the country and in his own state of Minnesota. He reminded all members that basic human decency and the NSPE Code of Ethics demand that “Engineers shall treat all persons with dignity, respect, fairness and without discrimination.”

He continued: “As professional engineers and leaders in our communities, we are committed to applying our talents and knowledge to make the world a better place for all. The events we are witnessing make us all painfully aware of the work that remains to be done to address the root causes of this societal ill and heal its wounds, and underline the imperative, as a profession, of putting our own house in order.”

It’s time to start a conversation and recognize why diversity equals success for the future of engineering!

Diversity is the key to the future of engineering

Diversity means introducing and encouraging the profession of engineering to all races, genders, nationalities, and sexualities. Women and racial minorities make up a very small number in the grand scheme of the engineering industry. Currently about 13 % of Engineers are female and on average they earn 10 % less than male engineers. A problem engineering has had in the past is that from K-12 education, we’re not encouraging and presenting the opportunity of joining the STEM fields to all. The future of engineering depends on diversity for many reasons:

Innovation and talent

A lack of diversity is directly related to a deficit of talent and loss of potential innovation. The capacity for success in the field of engineering is not at all curtailed by race or gender. In the past by not encouraging diversity, the engineering industry is likely missing out on talented individuals!

Profit

Greater diversity brings a large range of perspectives to the table. With more of these brains working together, you can imagine that innovation, growth, and financial success would be increased. The Peterson Institute for International Economics’ 2016  survey , of 21,980 firms from 91 countries, found that having women at the C-Suite level significantly increases net margins.

Shifting demographics

According to the US Census, more and more infants being born today fall into the “non-white” category. The future society is going to be more diverse and the workforce will likely not be dominated by all white males. The engineering industry needs to make efforts to diversify now to move with the shifting demographics.

Ethics

Every professional engineer must complete an ethics course in order to keep your professional engineering license in good standing. Additionally, the code of ethics for engineering says that engineers shall treat all persons with dignity, respect, fairness, and without discrimination. 

Diversity in engineering is so important to the overall success in the industry, not just from a financial standpoint but also because if we’re not taking diversity into consideration, we’re missing out on new perspectives and ideas that could push this industry forward!

Be a part of the conversation by joining a professional engineering society today! Learn more about joining NJSPE.

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