Bringing Diversity in Engineering

A progressive, medium-sized EPC engaged with us on a confidential talent pipelining project aimed at the attraction of female project managers, construction managers and project, construction and maintenance engineers for its process and plant solutions divisions.

The aim was to bring greater gender balance to the traditionally male project and engineering teams as part of a Group transformation. The non-corporate, front line positions were held by a male population of 93% - with the prevalence of women only in the most junior engineering roles, due to a fairly successful apprenticeship scheme in recent years.

From our own research and data analysis, we knew that women in engineering become more motivated and more likely to change company following a longer period of recruitment engagement - so as the solution needed to be sustainable over time, we recommended a talent pipelining approach.

The first step were to agree on the target companies within which we would map out talent. The second was to conduct in-depth discussions with a selection of existing female engineering staff to gain an understanding of the company culture and how to market the opportunities. We then reach out to our industry sources within Energy, FMCG, Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Construction and Engineering Consultancies to ask for recommendations, referrals and insights into the companies and the individuals that currently work within them.

One of the things we often hear from in-house recruitment teams is that there is a lack of suitable talent available either on-line or through advertised vacancies. When hiring women into these disciplines, the talent pool is even harder to access. This is why a covert, ethically handled attraction strategy must be formulated, which will be different for every company we work with.

Our client did not want the outside market, and especially its competitors, knowing that it had a diversity problem - so our approaches to each individual needed to be handled discreetly and required multiple ‘touch-points’, either via phone or video-conference. After building confidence over time, we were able to use Non-Disclosure Agreements to move to a new phase of revealing the client’s identity, assessing candidate competence, and building the talent pipelines - one for each of five key roles.

For this assignment, we cast our net far and wide across the UK and Europe to secure a pipeline of women at varying stages in their career, who would be interested in being on a pipeline of talent for the coming three year period.

We were further engaged by the client to monitor the pipeline over time - communicating with the candidates quarterly to update on personal circumstances, and back-fill anyone who de-selected from the pipeline for any reason.

In all, we delivered a pipeline of 82 females across five disciplines, with 14 appointments into roles to date.

Feedback from the client’s HR team and hiring managers is that the assignment has been a breath of fresh air (and a surprising success for them) following years of struggling to achieve a more representative workforce balance.

"Getting succession planning right is a skill in itself; the right successor can help to maintain growth momentum in a business. We like to plan for companies well in advance so that a transition period can be enjoyable and productive. We understand that sometimes the need for succession comes unexpectedly; as a result, we like to conduct a comprehensive search with speed and accuracy but with the understanding from the client on exactly what is needed."

David Wilson, Co-founder and Director | Hybrid Search

Get in touch to find out how we can help solve your challenges