With International Women in Engineering Day 2020 almost upon us, Stirling’s HR Manager, Natasha Storey, discusses Stirling’s first anniversary as a corporate partner of the Women’s Engineering Society and the impact it has had on her and the business.
19% of our employees are females but we would love this to be higher. Last year we registered as a corporate partner with Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and have just renewed our partnership with WES for another year. This is because we want to continue helping WES support and inspire more women to achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders.
WES SUPPORT AND RESOURCES
We have thoroughly enjoyed working with WES and are excited to work with them again this year. I’ve personally found that attending the partner meetings provides a great source of ideas and is a perfect opportunity to discuss challenges facing women in the industry with representatives from other engineering companies. It has been so beneficial discussing how we can work together to create a more equitable engineering sector. We hope that by removing as many barriers as possible, we can encourage more people into the engineering industry and importantly, keep them in the industry. One area we’ve worked hard to improve upon at Stirling this year is flexible working.
“I’ve personally found that attending the partner meetings provides a great source of ideas and is a perfect opportunity to discuss challenges facing women in the industry with representatives from other engineering companies”.
THE AVERAGE 9-5 ISN’T WORKING
It is estimated that 22,000 qualified women have not returned to the engineering sector after a career or maternity break. Whilst not the only reason, a significant barrier for a lot of employees (male and female) is often working hours, particularly when juggling this with childcare. To help to alleviate this issue, we encourage flexible working wherever possible. So last year, we changed our core hours to 10 am – 3 pm Monday – Thursday, and 10 am – 12.30 pm on Fridays, giving employees greater flexibility to manage working life around their home life. This change was really well received by staff and is particularly beneficial for those with children, as it means that they can still do the school drop off.
Additionally, we accept all flexible working requests where we can, with several employees currently reducing their hours and/or choosing to work from home as their personal lives and responsibilities evolve. Our Employee Assistance Programme also provides 24/7 confidential support to employees, as well as their partners and children, and our eldercare support service provides additional support to employees who may have additional caring responsibilities.
We have made good progress this year, but we are determined this work needs to continue. Looking at future initiatives, Stirling is organising a work shadowing day through WES so that young women interested in engineering can learn more about what life is like as an engineer. They will have the opportunity to learn about the types of projects we work on at Stirling and they will be able to ask questions and network with our employees.
Also, to help celebrate International Women in Engineering Day on the 23rd June, we are donating a selection of STEM books to local primary school libraries, in the hope that they inspire an even younger audience of girls to consider engineering as a career in the future. We are excited to celebrate International Women in Engineering day again this year and have a number of activities planned to help support the day (safely and at an appropriate social distance). We are looking forward to encouraging more women to engineering.
For more information on careers at Stirling Dynamics visit: https://www.stirling-dynamics.com/careers/