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International Women's Day, 2021

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day which is celebrated on 8th March every year with the global focus on gender equality and the celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women to date. It also plays a fundamental role in highlighting areas where urgent action is still required in the UK and globally in order to achieve gender equality.

The lack of gender diversity is prominent in the engineering sector. This is particularly evident in the UK where, according to an earlier report by Engineering UK, women account for only 12.37% of all engineers, making the UK the lowest ranking country in Europe when it comes to female representation in its engineering workforce.

Our aim, being an organisation in a male-dominated industry, is to raise awareness across the business, and externally, on the ongoing unequal business environment of which most women have to face and fight daily. Being an engineering company, we took this year’s IWD’s theme, ‘choose to challenge’ very seriously. The theme is drawn from a notion that ‘from challenge, comes change’ and speaks to spread awareness about the importance of choice.

Rolton Group actively promotes a mixed workforce and tries to encourage a wider range of people to join the team through both graduate schemes and apprenticeships. By promoting alternative routes into career positions, Rolton Group hopes to attract talent from a wider range of backgrounds, which may assist in promoting greater equality within the sector. This seems to be effective as women account for 32.14% of our workforce as of March 2021 which has experienced year-on-year growth and exceeds the industry standard of 21.08%, aiding in tackling workforce inequality.

Following this, the earlier report by Engineering UK also highlighted that 46.4% of girls aged 11-14 would consider a career in engineering which has experienced an increase in previous years. Rolton Group facilitates this through helping and encouraging young women to consider engineering as a career option (school engagement, INWED support), as shown by our day in the life of our female engineers

When asked what they would say to girls and women who are considering engineering as a career, Laura Barker, Project Engineer said “Electrical engineering is a really interesting, fulfilling career. I had children first and then decided to go back to college to retrain, it’s never too late to learn!” Greta Zvilauskaite, Graduate Engineer advised, “Make every effort to maximise the experience and the opportunities that university or college provide and get as involved as you can! Most importantly don't be afraid to ask and be proactive”.

Rolton Group not only focuses on supporting engineers across the business but also offers Business Administration apprenticeships for aspiring college students. Marketing positions are also supported through the provision of an undergraduate placement year, along with a graduate role which comes with the opportunity to study towards a master’s degree.

Chairman, Peter Rolton commented the following:

"Research consistently shows that workplaces are more effective with a balance of genders at every level of the hierarchy, and we have also found this to be the case through our own experience in the business. It is important to have a gender balance because it allows for problems to be approached and solved in a variety of ways. Now in 2021, 32.14% of our professional technical staff are female, and we continually strive to increase this."