Engineering more inclusive, but bullying remains, says RAE

Underrepresented groups most likely to feel isolated, finds survey

Three-quarters of engineers say the profession’s inclusivity has improved over the past five years, but pockets of macho culture and bullying persist, according to a new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE).

Inclusive cultures in engineering 2023, published last month, was commissioned by the REA to follow up its 2017 study on the topic. 

A survey of engineers and employers revealed that those who are transgender and have a trans history are seeing the greatest improvements.

However, the UK’s engineering culture needs to accelerate its drive to become more inclusive if the UK is to continue to be a key player in the global race for engineering skills, says the report.

The research says underrepresented groups continue to report experiences of ‘bullying, harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace’, with rates higher for those from multiple underrepresented backgrounds. 

Masculine and macho culture persist in the form of offensive ‘banter’ and ‘mickey-taking’, it says, particularly in ‘onsite’ locations.

One in three engineers (35%) reported experiences of bullying and harassment. A quarter had witnessed bullying or harassment of someone else; 20% had personal experience. 

Louise Parry, chair of the inclusive cultures advisory group, said: ‘It is unacceptable that there is anyone working in our profession who feels unable to bring their authentic self to work.’