10 June 2014 - Atkins

Atkins: Addressing diversity and skills shortages

Explore how Atkins is addressing the engineering skills shortage and employing and retaining more female workers, through diversity programmes and flexible ...


there's a lot of emphasis in trying to get women to start in engineering but then if you're then going to lose that one then then have children by not allowing them back you know it's a huge waste it doesn't make sense to put the effort in at the start and then not keep them there I worked two and half days a week so I do two days in the office in Bristol and I do half day from home I'm also a yoga teacher so I actually do teach yoga classes on the days that I don't work as well I think if you give people space they're more likely to stay in their career longer I think otherwise other interests can almost overtake what they want to do whereas this way you get to do you get to do both one of the main challenges that we have with regard to attracting and retaining staff is the shortage of available engineering talent in the UK and akin to that of course engineering is more popular with men so that gives us another challenge in terms of recruiting and from a diverse pool of people so having understanding where people are coming from where they are in their

lives and what they want from their working environment and being able to try and meet that as best possible that helps us to retain the best talent we recently have started advertising so flexible options will be considered and in all of our permanent roles now making things backed over it and that obvious in our recruitment campaigns has really helped and I'm delighted to say that we have just recruited a really key role for us aware the gentleman wanted to work four days a week and this was a really difficult to recruit key skill set in Atkins the support is very much there from the top I'm delighted to say because this isn't a HR initiative whilst HR can facilitate and support this this has to be led and demonstrated from the top and right the way through the line management and the organizational structure without that support it's just a policy on a shelf I worked three days a week and I work Monday Wednesday and Thursday to try and help the clients by being there throughout the week part-time working hasn't really affected my career progression in fact it could almost say it's M it's improved it because I've had

to delegate more work and that has allowed me to to bring more people unto me o as a lion manager myself I've understood the difficulties of having part-time workers but have also been able to overcome those within my own teams and I found that you get real loyalty and value from those individuals that you trust to work part-time the reason I'm attacked in dispute is about 15 years ago I had a debilitating illness which meant the only way I could continue in engineering was to work part-time I retired from Everson and I went to another another company and that company was unable to support me and very quickly I was compressing five days into three days so I left luckily acting's appeared on the scene that was ten years ago and they offered me a part-time position - in a technical role which I grasp because I could see that was an opportunity to continue in my career of engine area I started work 49 years ago as an apprentice and it was 100% male-dominated it's changed in since the millennium over the past 15 or 20 years and I think what's caused that has been a shortage of engineering skills well

I'd like to see is a workforce that is highly engaged and having long term fulfilling careers with us I wouldn't consider going back to a non flexible working environment as we can carry on this is going to become a competitive advantage for us in recruiting retaining people and if we were to chop that off we would lose a lot of my great talent

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