Network Rail pushes for a more gender balanced workforce

May 6 2015  

Network Rail pushes for a more gender balanced workforce
Ambitious targets must be set to increase the proportion of women in rail engineering workforces, according to Network Rail.
A survey of 12-17 year old schoolgirls, conducted by the rail operator, found that engineering is second only to construction in struggling to overcome gender stereotypes.
Of the 39% of respondents who said certain jobs are more suited to boys, 40% cited engineering, and 58% named building and construction, making the latter the most ‘male’ profession.
Network Rail said its findings underline concerns among employers that they are missing talent because of entrenched attitudes by both genders.
Network Rail’s director of diversity and inclusion Loraine Martins said: “It is no secret that the engineering sector in particular is male dominated and has trouble attracting talented women. Organisations like ours are making a concerted effort to change that.”
She added that the industry should be setting “ambitious targets” for recruitment of women and must work with more education institutions to tackle the issue as quickly as possible. 
Network Rail interim director of safety technical and engineering Jane Simpson – who joined the industry as an apprentice aged 16 – added: “If my school career adviser had her way, I would have become a nurse or teacher." Ms Simpson now manages a 500 strong team of mostly male engineers and technicians.
Fourteen percent of Network Rail's workforce is currently female. The rail operator plans for 30% of its graduate intake to be women by 2019. It adds that strategies are also being developed to help retain and support the career development of women already in the sector.
(Photo: Network Rail)

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