How to encourage women into leadership roles in science, engineering and technology
There is a growing awareness that the increase in women in the UK workforce over the last few decades has not been matched over time by a similar increase of women in leadership, either in the public or private sectors. Also, that this position is unlikely to improve without targeted intervention. This is reflected in the coalition government’s appointment of Lord Davies to develop a business strategy to increase the number of women on boards of UK listed companies and, in its stated aspiration for women to form at least half of all new appointees to public boards by the end of the current parliament.
At the same time, an increasing amount of research links gender balance in leadership with improvements in organisational performance and corporate governance. This is of particular concern for science, engineering and technology (SET) where a significant proportion of qualified women choose not to remain in these sectors.
At E.ON, we are committed to a diverse workforce, believing mixed teams to be more creative and better performing. In 2010, with the help of the UKRC, we achieved a significant increase in the quantity and quality of female applicants to our apprenticeship programme. We are aware of the low retention rates for women in the SET sectors and want to ensure that our female apprentices and graduate engineers remain with us and achieve their full potential, benefiting both our business and themselves.
A significant improvement in the amount of women in managerial and senior roles in SET is unlikely without positive action on the part of employers. I am therefore happy to recommend this guide as a rich source of information, ideas and suggestions on the steps you can take to improve gender balance in leadership in your own organisation.