Fostering a culture of varied perspectives
Traditionally, engineering has been dominated by men and in the UK, just 9% of the engineering workforce is female. However, as more women choose engineering as a career, there’s an opportunity for engineering organisations like ours to move towards a more gender-balanced workforce.
To achieve our corporate ambitions of growing our market presence as a truly global engineering brand, we need the benefit of all types of experience and perspective. That’s why we strive to have an even more diverse company going forward. We seek the very best engineers and business professionals to stay ahead of the curve and believe innovation, an eye for detail and project management skills come in all shapes and sizes, male or female, and from a range of backgrounds.
Why gender diversity matters
We saw evidence that a mixture of mind-sets is what drives effective problem-solving and technology development at our corporate Innovation Awards, where a multinational gender-mixed team took the top spot for best project of 2015. Our women have also come out top in industry standard awards and for many consecutive years, our female apprentices have taken home national awards.
What’s more, it doesn’t make economic sense for businesses to ignore the female potential of the talent pool. Companies that want to be competitive must recruit the best and invest in them over the longer term by creating an environment that lets both genders flourish to achieve the innovation and creativity necessary to drive a business forward.
Support from the beginning
Given that in 2013/14, women accounted for only 3.8% of engineering apprenticeship starts in the UK, it’s clear corporate support is key from the very beginning. We believe that to get more women into engineering, we have to support girls to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects. That’s why our educational outreach programmes work closely with schools and colleges to inspire girls into engineering by supporting them with mentoring and the chance to take part in robotics competitions. Many of these students have gone on to pursue a career in engineering, some with us, through our apprentice and graduate programmes. As they move through the business, our talent management programme looks at the attributes, behaviours and potential of all individuals, placing our women and men on a level playing field of equal respect and opportunity for all. This is vital so that different management styles can complement and inspire each other.
Ultimately, what MBDA and the national engineering community can hope to achieve from supporting women to enter into and flourish in an engineering career, is to benefit from the mixed perspectives of the next generation of leaders – something we can’t underestimate the value of.