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  • SE3 Committee

Read.Watch.Listen. Improving Retention in Structural Engineering Firms

October 2023 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen. Last month, we shared resources about inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. This month, we are going to continue this conversation and share resources for improving retention in structural engineering firms. Even if a firm incorporates an inclusive hiring process, they must also develop equitable policies and a welcoming culture if they want to improve retention of their employees.

Engineering firms are currently facing a shortage of engineers, as documented by ASCE. This shortage is expected to get worse, as Higher Education has seen a decrease in enrollment since the pandemic and is anticipating a significant, additional enrollment decrease in 2025. This so-called “enrollment cliff” is a result of the decrease in births from the 2008 Great Recession. As less students are graduating with engineering degrees, the competition for talent will increase, and improved recruitment and retention will be vital for the success of engineering firms. The following resources will help firm leaders understand the importance of equitable policies and welcoming cultures on employee retention.

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SE3 also wants to acknowledge National Hispanic Heritage month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th. We invite you to review our September 2021 Read.Watch.Listen issue, in which we recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic Americans to our professions and call attention to some of the difficulties that Hispanic engineers face in our industry.

If you are interested in learning more about promoting dialogue on engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession, we invite you to join us for the 2023 SE3 National Symposium, which will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 in Anaheim, CA. During this half-day program, attendees will participate in five separate sessions focused on various aspects of engagement, retention, diversity and inclusion. They will learn about SE3 initiatives and activities, hear from industry panelists on the state of our profession, and acquire practical strategies and best practices for improving retention within their organizations.

Read.Watch.Listen is a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation. Missed the previous issue? Check out the NCSEA SE3 Committee News and Publication page.

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at


More than half of ethnic minorities abandon engineering careers - New Civil Engineer

Atkins’ Career Deflection Report shows that engineering professions are falling behind most other professions in retaining diverse talent. Over 50% of ethnic minorities abandon their engineering careers compared to 39% of white people, and 70% of women leave their engineering careers versus 35% or men. The article goes to highlight reasons for these trends, including lack of flexible work environments, conscious and unconscious bias, isolation and marginalization, and discrimination.


How to Retain Top Engineering Talent - Architectural Foundation of San Francisco

Leo Panian, Principal Engineer at Tipping Structural Engineers, discusses how his firm attracts and retains high quality engineers. He discusses the importance of training and a team-centered culture built on trust, openness, and compassion. He also shares his best advice for up and coming engineers.


Growing Your Civil Engineering Firm: Being Proactive, Not Reactive - Civil Engineering Podcast

The Civil Engineering Podcast interviews Bonnie Moss, P.E., President at MBCO Engineering, LLC. She discussed the importance of adaptable policies and a focus on being proactive. She suggests consistent monitoring and check-ins, and she recommends that a focus on the culture and people of the company is crucial.


This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.



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