Do you support your colleagues? Are you open to difference and considerate of others? Are you approachable and able to listen?
If so, then you are already an ally to your colleagues. Majority allies play an important role in creating and maintaining inclusive workplaces, where everyone can feel properly valued and respected.
This set of resources aims to support those who wish to be an ally and to support organisations who may wish to have an allies programme or support allies within their organisation.
For this set of resources, the following definitions are used:
- A person who actively promotes and has a passion for diversity and inclusion, supports those who may be different to themselves and stands up to actively combat barriers to inclusion.
- The diversity groups representing a notable majority in a given characteristic.
How to support majority allies
Qualities and attributes of a majority ally
Videos from allies
Majority allies play an important role in creating and maintaining inclusive workplaces, where everyone can feel properly valued and respected.
Language and glossary
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Creating cultures where all engineers thrive report, based on a survey of over 7,000 engineers, recommended creating a critical mass of allies who could then influence organisations to increase the inclusive nature of both engineering and organisational culture.
This first-of-a kind survey of engineers’ perceptions of the inclusivity of their workplaces created a baseline from which to measure progress on how employees with different backgrounds are valued in engineering.
The study revealed a consistent pattern of lower levels of inclusion for women and black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME) engineers, and one in five white male engineers report not feeling included. When it comes to developing a more inclusive culture for the future, women and BAME engineers only comprise 12% and 9% of the engineering profession respectively. It is just not enough of a critical mass to drive change. Without more majority engineers engaging in change, the sector will simply be unable to create a more inclusive engineering culture.
The results from the survey showed that there is more to do to capitalise on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to ensure that engineers and technicians from all backgrounds feel properly valued and respected in their work.
Majority Allies Action Group
Following the report, an action group made up of members of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group came together to develop a set of resources to support individuals who wish to be an ally and to support organisations who may wish to have an allies programme or support allies within their organisation. The Majority Allies Action Group canvassed a number of engineering companies with different business interests to gauge interest in the concept of resources supporting majority allies, and survey feedback showed:
- People would be motivated to be an ally from an emotional standpoint, through recognition that people are often treated unfairly and identifying a need to address injustice
- The main barriers and challenges that people have faced are not knowing what to do, and having a lack of understanding of the role of an ally
- Sometimes there is a lack of organisational support for such a role
- Allies have said that they would like a clear role profile, information on best practice and the ability to share stories
- There was a clear interest in pursuing this initiative and the need to establish allies in engineering companies
The organisations that were represented in the action group that developed the modules are:
- Network Rail
- Wood plc
- Mott MacDonald
- National Grid