Today is International Women in Engineering Day , and as an engineering intensive business I think it's really important we recognise what this means for us. I'll give you my perspective.
I'm an engineer by background and I'm really passionate about engineering being a healthy discipline for our long term prosperity, not just in BAE Systems but right across the UK. This means we need engineering to be attractive and accessible to a broad range of people from any and all backgrounds. The engineering activities on our products are amongst the most complex and demanding of any industry and, to be successful, we need to attract and retain the most talented and committed people, whatever their background. This means we need to create an inclusive environment which allows all of our team to be themselves and to be at their best, feeling safe, valued and able to contribute as equals with all of their colleagues.
We have a big and growing ambition to be a truly inclusive workplace right across the company and we are making progress. We have a long way to go, but we are committed to the journey. I'm personally committed to this, and to support our agenda I'm sponsoring the GEN* Employee Resource Group (ERG) in Submarines to help the team (led by Harriet Gibbons) build awareness and create a more inclusive environment for everyone, whatever their gender. There's loads going in on this area but I'll give a few quick examples: we are adapting the way we recruit people to be more gender neutral in our language including the way we write job specs; we are looking at some really basic things like the sizing of PPE being suitable for all shapes and sizes of person; and we are really driving to ensure our early careers processes are inclusive in the way we recruit, develop and support all of our new recruits. I'd encourage anyone to get involved with GEN or any of the Employee Resource Groups. We have growing support and could use as much help as possible – it would be great for more people to demonstrate their commitment to a fully inclusive environment.
As a final point, I wanted to share a further personal motivation which drives me to do my bit to help with this. I'm a father of 3 with 1 boy and 2 girls (plus 2 more step children). I do worry about equal opportunities, equal pay, and just the general equality they will experience when they enter the world of work. I want them all to have the opportunities and experiences which they earn and deserve without any discrimination based on who they are. If I can do anything to help with this and encourage others to do so then I might just help to nudge this in the right direction. I think we can all make a difference if we get behind this.