Women in Engineering: A More Diverse Tomorrow
Women in Engineering
According to a recent study published by WISE (2017), women make up just 11% of the engineering workforce. Although we are above the industry average in terms of women in engineering, we recognise there is still a lot more to be done. As an organisation we are committed to improving the number of women in STEM as well as the proportion of women in senior roles.
Why is it important to us?
We recognise the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workplace and have seen first-hand how a mixture of mind-sets drives innovation and problem solving. We know that in order to be a competitive leader in our industry, we must recruit the best and invest in them over the longer term by creating an environment that allows everyone to flourish regardless of gender.
The inspirational women who are part of the MBDA Team have come out on top in industry standard awards and for many consecutive years, our female apprentices have been the winners of many national awards. In 2017, one of our promising young female engineers also featured in an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, showcasing the diversity that exists in engineering as part of the IET’s Portrait of an Engineer.
" Diversity and inclusion is important to MBDA because it makes good business sense. We want to have as broad a choice of populations that we can recruit from, as possible. This maximises our ability to attract and recruit the best qualified and best skilled individuals out in the external market. We welcome people with diverse experience and skills, from the defence sector, as well as from other sectors. The more difference we have within our workforce, the more creativity and difference of thought we can encourage. We know from research that diverse teams are higher performing and of course we are looking to derive business benefit from this reality." - Aileen Randhawa, HR Director, MBDA UK
Working Towards a More Diverse Tomorrow
MBDA’s women’s network, Space2B has been developed to help encourage women within our organisation to give, gain and grow. It allows women to network and learn from each other’s experiences and expertise, as well as help build their confidence.
Space2B is not just for females, – we believe that to really create change and break down barriers around gender, we need everyone to engage and participate regardless of gender. All employees are actively encouraged to participate in the efforts to promote and increase diversity and embrace opportunities to increase their understanding and skillset by for example, attending our diversity training which is compulsory for all employees.
Every year there are a number of talks or workshops which are centred on a topic we believe would be beneficial. A number of women in senior positions are invited as guest speakers. Last year, we invited Heather Baily Page to discuss her experiences as a female Deputy Chief Constable in the Police and Jacqui Hughes, Head of Pti Leadership and Executive Coach, to lead a practical session focusing on resilience.
Within our organisation, we have a number of Space2B Ambassadors who offer their time and support to anyone who wants to engage with the initiative.
To help encourage the future generation of engineers, we encourage employees to sign up as STEM Ambassadors. The programme provides a platform for our employees to participate in school engagement activities and outreach events aimed at young people, with time out of work given to do this.
We have a great number of female STEM Ambassadors who are active in the communities around our sites, working with local schools to help inspire the next generation of females in STEM and to combat stereotypes that both young males and females may have in regards to STEM professionals.
Women in STEM Initiatives
As a business, we look for and engage with external initiatives that are in-line with our objectives to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace and to increase the number of women who choose a career in STEM. For example, we were the proud sponsors of the WISE Man Award 2017, which recognises men who are agents of change, improving gender balance in their organisation and beyond.
What do we have planned for the future?
We are hopeful that the future will bring more diversity and a new-age in engineering, whereby women are as likely to choose this career path as men. Currently 25% of all of our apprentices are female and 25% of all of our graduates are female, signifying a change for the next generation in engineering roles at MBDA. We hope to continue to create a momentum of change throughout the organisation and provide not only an environment that culturally fits with women in engineering professions but also around their lifestyle and needs, with a number of benefits including Enhanced Parental Leave for all employees, Flexible working, Child Care Voucher Scheme.
"An inclusive working environment that welcomes and respects people of all different characteristics, is a working environment that is more likely to encourage employees to contribute to the best of their abilities. This is a key contributor to our overall business success and is an important focus for MBDA." - Aileen Randhawa, HR Director, MBDA UK