Industry campaign to improve women’s retention and progression
29 September 2014 saw the launch of an ambitious, industry-led campaign to ensure that women in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing have the same opportunities to progress in their career as their male counterparts.
In April, WISE invited a cross section of businesses we work with to tell us what had made the most difference to the retention and progression of women in their organisation. Ten companies came to workshop hosted by Allan Cook, Chairman of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity Group and facilitated by WISE. The result was the Ten Steps.
The Ten Steps is unique in its focus on sectors where women are still very much in a minority. It has been signed by the leaders of science, technology, engineering and manufacturing businesses with a significant workforce in the UK. No such plan currently exists.
Taken together, these actions represent a step-change for the sector. Some companies will already be doing some of what is on the list; few if any are doing all. The actions have all been identified for their potential to drive company performance; they are more than simply ‘good management practice’.
Commitment from those at the top is critical. This is not a women’s issue or a diversity issue – it is a business imperative. Having high profile companies on board is a great start – we are looking for others to follow their lead.
- An ambitious, industry-led campaign
- The challenge we are tackling is to increase the number of women who stay and progress their career in science, technology engineering and manufacturing
- Fewer than 10% of UK engineering professionals are female – the lowest proportion in Europe
- This is a business issue – we need a bigger, more diverse workforce to stay competitive
- Commitment from those at the top is absolutely essential to drive change
- Having 20 high profile companies on board is a great start – we are looking for others to follow their lead.
WISE CXO Breakfast meeting - Gender balance
On 12 June 2017, WISE and EY hosted an Executive level breakfast on Gender balance to reaffirm commitment, and share good practice between executives in large corporate organisations.
Trudy Norris-Grey, WISE’s Chair opened the discussion, while Steve Varley, Chairman and Managing Partner of EY, shared his insights on setting the “tone at the top”, and the path that EY took to increase the proportion of women partners. Chris Stylianou, COO of Sky, presented Sky’s initiatives to support women’s success and path to the top.
The Ten Steps framework supports companies in addressing gender imbalance. Following the event, WISE mapped the tools and initiatives discussed in the meeting against this framework to allow its members to learn from other experiences.
The breakfast meeting discussion ended with participants agreeing to work together with WISE towards gender balance within their organisations and encourage others to play their part.
Download the WISE CXO Breakfast meeting report
Responses from Government
"This is not just a matter of fairness, but a business imperative. Science and technology are driving our economic recovery and if we are going to maintain the UK’s exemplary success then we must draw from our full talent pool."
David Cameron, The Prime Minister
"We will certainly continue to encourage industry leaders to improve diversity in their organisations and we will highlight the roadmap you have developed as a means to do that.”
The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities
“I would like to congratulate the WISE Campaign, the Royal Academy of Engineering, industry members and partners and look forward to following the progress of this fantastic new industry campaign."
Baroness Verma, Minister for Energy and Climate Change