Report finds business case for good EDI practices ‘compelling and undeniable’

Better equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) practices can help businesses to recruit engineers, retain and progress talent, and encourage more innovative engineering solutions, the Royal Academy of Engineering has found.


The EDI engine: Evidencing the business benefits of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in engineering report, produced in partnership with Dalberg Advisors, has been published today by the RAEng.

The report uses data and real-world examples to show how prioritising EDI as a strategic imperative can drive business success in the engineering field.

From attracting top talent and enhancing innovation to reaching broader markets and mitigating risks, the RAEng has found that embracing diversity and inclusion helps to drive sustainable growth and competitiveness in the industry.

Businesses that advance EDI can also open up more access to funding, contracts and partnerships, while mitigating legal and reputational risk, the report states.

Indeed, in addition to a long-standing engineering skills shortage in the UK, the latest figures for 2023 show that the proportion of women working in engineering and technology roles has fallen from 16.5 per cent to 15.7 per cent. The RAEng said that this indicates that the industry is not achieving its full economic and social contribution in the UK.

In a statement, Aleida Rios FREng, chair of the RAEng Engineering Diversity and Inclusion Committee, said: “No business needs persuading that fair treatment, participation and opportunity for all employees is important. But many smaller or newer engineering businesses, in particular, may find the prospect of investigating and embedding good EDI practices somewhat daunting and need help to get started."

“Although EDI is a complex and multifaceted endeavour, the report offers practical guidance and actionable recommendations for implementing EDI initiatives in engineering firms. The case for taking action is compelling and undeniable," said Rios.

“Ultimately, a collective effort is needed to make meaningful progress on EDI in engineering to ensure that it is able to fulfil its potential to benefit society and the economy. This includes contributions of individuals, governments, educational institutions and professional organisations as well as businesses and their partners and stakeholders in the engineering ecosystem.”

The report provides evidence demonstrating the benefits of EDI for engineering businesses across four key areas: people, – for instance, that 82 per cent of women in engineering and construction report that the presence of role models informs their decision to join a company – products, partners and processes.

It also includes recommendations to support businesses of all sizes to improve performance, namely:

  • Understand your starting point by gathering a range of evidence and data.
  • Collaborate with experts and partners to leverage external resources and expertise.
  • Adopt a leadership-driven, strategic approach that aligns EDI efforts with your company’s broader strategic goals.
  • Tailor initiatives to organisational needs, resources and capabilities.
  • Cultivate a culture that embeds EDI into everyday practices through open communication that celebrates differences and proactively addresses bias and discrimination.

The report can be accessed and read in full here.