The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has signed a new concordat to help attract more people from diverse backgrounds into the profession.

The concordat, which is led by The Royal Academy of Engineering (The Academy), is the first step in a long-term commitment by IChemE to help raise awareness and increase diversity in the chemical engineering profession.  The concordat is being supported by other Professional Engineering Institutions in the UK.

Some of the latest UK data suggests that despite women making up 48% of the labour market, only 8% of engineering professionals are women1.  In relation to Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) groups, 12.5% of working age people are from an ethnic background, but only 6% are engineering professionals2.

IChemE chief executive David Brown said: “In many ways IChemE is already a diverse organisation with 43% of our membership based outside of the UK. However, the data clearly indicates that the wider engineering profession has some work to do to help more people from diverse backgrounds enter the profession.

“Our work with The Academy and other Professional Engineering Institutions suggests increasing our efforts in this area will improve skill shortages and the talent pool of people wanting to enter the profession.

“One of our first tasks will be to seek the help of IChemE’s 38,000 members to collect better statistical data on equality and diversity information.  Our early priorities will look at ways to increase awareness and interest in chemical engineering in particular from women, BME and socio-economically disadvantaged groups.”

IChemE President, Russell Scott, signed the Diversity in Engineering Concordat at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London on 7 May 2013. The Equality Act 2010 covers issues such as age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation in the UK.

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