A diverse workforce, made up of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, is crucial for driving innovation, problem solving and better decision-making. 

Yet, Australia’s engineering workforce has a poor scorecard when it comes to diversity – with women being sorely underrepresented and overseas-born engineers experiencing higher unemployment rates than their Australian-born counterparts.

This lack of diversity is particularly disturbing given the predicted increases in major public infrastructure activity – where labour shortages have the potential to derail progress.

What are the barriers to diversity and inclusion and how do we dismantle them?

We spoke to and surveyed industry leaders attending the 2022 Engineers Australia and KPMG Event series The Future of Engineering: Why inclusion and diversity matter.

Gender diversity: the challenge of women in engineering

Our report unpacks the issues of gender diversity and explores opportunities for change.


of overall workforce
are women


of working engineers
are women


of engineering graduates
are women

What are the barriers to diversity and inclusion in engineering?


say organisational culture


say leadership capability


say talent management and career progression


say recruitment system and processes


say pathways to enter and re-enter engineering

Tangible steps to accelerate change

Create an inclusive culture that values diversity

This includes deep culture change with leaders clearly articulating why diversity is an imperative and how it drives better results.

Establish modern HR

From targeted training and flexible work practices to diverse recruitment panels and a focus on people re-entering the engineering workforce.

Commit to action through targets and measurement

Look at ways to accelerate the speed of change including an exploration of the pros and cons of diversity targets.

Change is uncomfortable with perceived winners and losers. We need greater transparency on the actions we are taking to create a diverse workplace so we can genuinely support each other through this transition.

Dr Andrew O’Connor
Lead Partner, Engineering, Assets & Project Delivery
KPMG Australia

Get in touch

At KPMG, we’re committed to diversity and inclusion in our own practice and we have a deep understanding of the issues and opportunities. Though driving significant change in engineering diversity is a complex and long-term challenge, we’re committed to moving the conversation forward. Get in touch to find out more.