In the UK only 16% of engineering graduates are women and 57% of female engineers drop off the register of professional engineers under the age of 451. There is a serious shortage of women engineers in the UK and the best way to close this gap is to increase diversity in engineering and widen the pool of talent.
Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult established an Inclusion Group and partnered with Inclusive Employers2 to develop an action plan and programme of work to create an inclusive space where women feel valued and included.
The Catapult has organised internal training sessions to support their colleagues to recognise and address their unconscious bias and has provided coaching and mentoring to women who are looking to progress in their career.
Family friendly benefits for employees of the Catapult includes flexible working well above and beyond any statutory requirements. Half of the senior leadership team are female and overall, 33% of employees are women.
The Catapult recently undertook their first employee engagement survey with Great Places to Work3 and in July 2021 were listed as one of the UK’s best workplaces for women, the criteria for which are as follows:
• Organisation has a minimum of 25% women in the workforce
• Organisation has a minimum of 25% women in higher positions (Supervisor/Manager and Executive/Senior Manager)
• Confidence level of 80% (+/-5%) for data from female workforce
• Trust Index© for women population above Best Workplaces™ thresholds
The Catapult has also organised external facing events addressing the topic of gender diversity in engineering. For example for International Women’s Day 2021, the Catapult held an all-female panel discussion with 3 CEOs from the semiconductor industry and a senior manager from the Knowledge Transfer Network, where encouraging more women to undertake a career in STEM and how barriers for future engineers could be removed were discussed.
During the pandemic, the Catapult also ran online programming workshops, using Microsoft Teams, for local primary schools to encourage all children to take part in STEM activities.