Of Rolls-Royce’s 16,000 engineers globally, 11% are women. To make it easier for those women to progress in their careers – to win promotions or gain new experience through taking on challenging projects – the company has a policy of openness and inclusivity. That means ensuring that everyoneknows what is available and has the support necessary to plan and advancetheir careers.
Why is this important?
If businesses are to make the best use of all the talent they have, then opportunities for progression must be open to men and women equally. That is not likely to happen if awareness of what’s on offer is restricted to a (predominantly male) in-group or if opportunities are promoted solely though traditional networks. Transparency is needed so that women feel ‘in the know’ and confident about putting themselves forward.
What are the results?
- 16% of Rolls-Royce’s employees are women. In engineering, that is 11% (but up from 9% in 2012 and 10% in 2014).
- Of the engineering graduate intake, 15% are now women. On apprenticeship programmes, that is 17%.
- The specialist academy development programme started in 2012 with very little gender diversity, but now 13% of its alumni are women. The number of women advancing through the technical specialist route to become associate fellowsnow stands at 7%: still low but showing a gradual improvement.
What is being done?
Rolls-Royce has in place a People Development Framework open to all employees on the intranet. This not only sets out all the career paths, vacancies and other opportunities available but also provides a range of digital tools to help people work out their career goals, understand what they need to do to achieve them and put in place a plan of action to get there. The company calls this the Know, Grow, Flow model.
Women can also develop their professional and engineering skills through Rolls-Royce’s specialist academy and build their self-confidence through the Springboard programme (which is open to men but used mainly by women).
Conversations about progression are a key part of the performance review process. Individuals are expected to take responsibility for their own careers, but with support from their managers and the company’s diversity and inclusion policies.