The government and industry are taking steps to help restore the gender balance in the engineering industry, as figures show that women make up just 6% of the engineering workforce.
Now The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) latest annual skills report has revealed some of the measures employers are taking to create a diverse workforce. This includes those below:
Hiring the best candidates
Hiring candidates based solely based on their ability to do the job at hand, will help to ensure that all candidates have equal access to roles.
Positive attitude to flexible/part-time working
The right to request flexible working has now been extended to all employees, and all workers will appreciate the opportunity to adjust their working hours to achieve the right work-life balance. This includes female employees who may need to juggle both work and childcare commitments.
Female role ambassadors in schools/colleges
Among the reasons cited for a lack of women entering the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) workforce is the idea that they have a lack of role models in the sector to look up to. Introducing female role ambassadors at an earlier age may help more girls to view a career in the STEM sector in a more positive light.
Specific campaigns to encourage diverse groups
Highlighting the merits of working in the STEM sector to groups that have traditionally not considered STEM as a career path, may help to increase diversity in these sectors. Example campaigns that are already in operation include WISE, which has a central objective of attracting, retaining and developing female talent in STEM.
Mentoring can help to ensure that those who do choose to pursue a career in STEM have access to the support and guidance they need to flourish in their chosen sector.
Personalised approach key to supporting diverse workforce
Speaking to The Engineer about the survey findings, the IET’s Stephanie Fernandes, who authored the skills report, argues that engineering employers need to be proactive when it comes to recruiting and supporting their diverse workforce.
“Employers have a responsibility to get the best out of their employees. If they’re female there are probably a different set of actions to get the best from them …You have to adapt to get best out of different cohorts of employees.”
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