The race is on for a gender equal workforce throughout engineering and infrastructure. In the US, only 13% of engineers in the workforce are women. How can we address the imbalance? Rebecca Mould, Principal Consultant at LVI Associates, US, discusses the unique position that recruiters play in furthering gender equality.
The 2020 International Women’s Day theme is that an equal world is an enabled world. What does that mean to you in engineering industry environment?
To me it means giving female engineers the same chance for success in the industry as men. Starting at the education level, everyone should have the opportunity for a STEM education and understand the equal career opportunity they can have in the industry.
What sort of conversations around gender equality do you have with clients and candidates in your sector?
I have had a many clients that have made a big push towards making their leadership teams equally men and women.
One of my client actually has achieved a balance 50/50 split on their team and it is their most efficient group! This demonstrates the research that teams that are gender diverse statistically perform better than those that are less diverse. However, it continues to be a challenge for most engineering firms as female engineering talent is scarce.
What role can recruiters play in creating an equal world?
I am a huge advocate for engineering firms and the leaders of those firms making visits to colleges or high schools and making young people aware of their industries! A lot of the engineers in the MEP world fell into this industry just by chance. Designing internal systems of buildings isn't something that is very obvious as a career path to go down. If the industry had more exposure at the education level, there would be more engineers and eventually a more diverse pool of engineers!
What advice would you give to a company trying to create a diverse hiring strategy?
I think companies should always hire the best talent possible, however I think starting at the bottom is the best way to go! If you are at a college career fair, meeting with students studying STEM in high school, you can pitch to both men and women equally so that everyone has a fair shot at joining your company. Discuss the potential of the career and initiatives your firm is using to help promote more diversity. Studies show women leave the engineering field because they feel cultures are not inclusive enough. Showing that it is an area of focus for your firm will make your firm more appealing to female engineers throughout the talent pipeline.
Rebecca Mould is a Principal Consultant at LVI Associates. She leads our MEP & Structural Engineering recruitment team based in the Boston office. For advice on building a diverse hiring strategy, get in touch with the LVI Associates team.
LVI Associates is the leading specialist recruitment agency for the energy and infrastructure sectors. We were founded to give candidates and clients peace of mind that the recruitment process is in expert hands. Today, we provide contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment from our global hubs internationally.