International Women’s Day has been and gone once more. Last year at NGTU we highlighted our amazing team of women, and the women that inspire them every day. This year we want to shout out to some of the inspiring clients we work with who are doing big things when it comes to uplifting women in their respective industries. Some of these may come as a surprise. While these sectors are often recognised as being particularly targeted towards men, it’s now 2023 and we are thankful to see a positive shift in the importance of having a diverse workforce across all industries and how businesses can not only grow but thrive when all voices are well represented and valued.
According to a Deloitte Insights article on women leaders in financial services globally (2021), ‘among the most senior roles across the globe within financial services institutions (FSIs), women held 21% of board seats, 19% of C-suite roles, and 5% of CEO positions in 2021’. Although there are growing initiatives to progress women into those key leadership roles there is still a huge disparity between men and women when moving up the career ladder, and likely to be a representation of the industry as a whole.
However, the pandemic has certainly changed the way most of us work and study and with this there has generally been a positive development for women with the rise in hybrid working policies being introduced. Close Brothers - a leading UK merchant banking group - are actively trying to encourage more women into their workforce and have an innovative rotational scheme, designed to help young people enter the sector and gain first-hand experience in a range of different departments within the business. Check out some of the videos they have created to showcase the culture and inclusivity within their company. Close Brothers have achieved their goal of having 30% of senior management role held by a woman in 2020 – and this stat increases year on year! What an achievement and ongoing commitment to nurturing current and upcoming female talent.
The Engineering and Construction industries consistently remain to be some of the most male-dominated sectors. BigRentz, heavy equipment specialists, published an article in 2022 stating that 14% of employees were women and of that only a measly 2.5% are tradeswomen, with most occupying the office-based roles. Luckily there is strong evidence to show that firms with a more gender diverse staff are achieving greater profits across the board.
Mace, an international consultancy and construction company, is an organisation we have worked with for many years now and are known for some of their spectacular projects, such as the new Tottenham football stadium and The Shard. Not only are they industry leaders but they are also attempting to change the face of construction. They have created a 3-year strategy for Diversity and Inclusion, committing to ‘Audit, Develop and Improve’ their recruitment process to eliminate as much bias as possible, as a way of ensuring diversity at the earliest stages.
Similarly Atkins (multinational Engineering and Design company) who we have cultivated a great relationship with, proudly received The Times award for being in the top 50 ‘Best Employers of Women’ in 2021 They have also created a Women’s Development Programme where they invest in their female employees to help them succeed. These firms are diligently rebuilding the old-fashioned views of women in Engineering and Construction, ‘brick by brick’.
Arguably one of the most lucrative sectors to get into at the moment is Tech. Although we also know this tends to be overwhelmingly male-driven, with only 3% of young girls claiming this to be their sector of choice according to a PWC study. They also raise a good point by noting that the tech giants who first come to mind are all male! Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs to name a few. Though you might be glad to hear a news story, as recently as February 2023, was released stating that the Government are delegating £150,000 on a scheme to get women back into STEM. So we know there is incentive to encourage and retain women in the sector.
Reassuringly, multi-National Tech corporation IBM (another beloved partnership of ours!), have conducted the study ‘women in leadership’ with the intention of seeing whether efforts in nurturing women in Tech have made a tangible difference in closing the gender gap. Although the findings are disappointing, they have made a guide on actionable steps for businesses to leave ‘bro culture’ within tech firmly in the past, where it belongs!
We think it’s important to highlight the disparities, as there is clearly a glass ceiling in some key industries – but there is hope! Some of the biggest players in the game are striving to make a difference and providing communities of talented women a place where they can feel safe and uplifted.