Bureau Veritas' efforts have come following the results of a recent survey – undertaken by gender balance improvement consultancy WISE – which revealed just 11% of the engineering workforce is female. The firm now aims to be at the forefront of driving increased diversity in STEM careers by developing a diverse pool of technical talent and an inclusive culture. It is hoped such changes will also help enhance BV’s overall business performance as well as building a pipeline of STEM skills and capability for the future.
Kathryn Dolan, human resources director at BV, said: "We know there is an acute shortage of skilled engineers at all levels, and this trend is set to continue. If we are to close this skills gap, it’s crucial that we encourage both females and young people into STEM careers, which are currently dominated by an aging and traditionally male-dominated workforce."
Meanwhile, Atkins has partnered with the STEM Returners Programme which aims to to offer professional internships to engineers who have taken a career break. Each internship is set to last 13 weeks and will see participants shadow engineers, take part in personal and professional training, and contribute to noteworthy projects. Participants will also receive professional pay, confidence training and career mentoring. At the end of the year, Atkins will be offering ten placements in the North West, South West and South East respectively.
According to Atkins, its largest talent gap is in the mid-senior level, with this programme providing highly qualified and experienced women with an opportunity to increase gender diversity at senior levels.
Philip Hoare, chief executive of the SNC-Lavalin-owned Atkins business in the UK & Europe, said: "We are committed to providing an inclusive working environment for all our staff. By offering experienced candidates a programme of support as they return to the workplace from a career break, we will benefit from increased diversity, a reduced skills gap and access to a set of soft skills that can be overlooked by recruiters."
A number of other environmental and engineering consulting firms, including Tetra Tech (EA 05-Jun-18), have reiterated their commitments to advancing STEM both in the UK and in other markets.