Diversity – a term which has become a buzzword in recent years. And for good reason: In my eyes, diversity is a central factor for change and progress. I would even go so far as to say that diversity is crucial to the success of all companies. Teams made up of people from different cultures, age groups, experience and genders offer a depth from which we can all only benefit.
This attitude is only slowly gaining acceptance in some industries. Particularly in engineering, we need to rethink and integrate women to a greater extent. According to the Society of Women Engineers, women are significantly underrepresented in this occupational group at 14%.
To change this, we and our parent company ENGIE, have set ourselves the 2021 goal of increasing the proportion of women at Tractebel from 27%: by 2025, 33% of the workforce of our engineering companies should be female and by 2030, it should have increased to 40%.
A step in the right direction. But doesn’t gender diversity mean much more than numbers and quotas?
Fair and respectful cooperation
In my eyes, we need to create an environment in which all employees are treated fairly and respectfully, regardless of gender, origin, religion, ancestry, age or sexual orientation. Inclusive leadership and work practices are a top priority for me when it comes to evaluating competencies and potential, both in the personnel selection process and in day-to-day life at Tractebel.
Leading by example
It is not enough to agree on the importance of gender equity and other aspects of diversity; a concrete action plan must also be developed and implemented. Companies need to walk their talk and address biases to accelerate change on a global scale. At Tractebel, we therefore want to lead by example.
This already starts with small actions: For me, it was a matter of course to support this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March and therefore also my female colleagues with my statement.
Tractebel gets Gender Diversity certified
In 2021, we decided to get certified by EDGE, the world’s leading workplace equality certification system, which stands for Economic Dividends for Gender Equality. EDGE evaluates policies, practices and figures of different analytical areas. This allows us to verify whether we are actually meeting our claim regarding equal treatment of men and women at Tractebel. Successful certification is highly appreciated by external stakeholders and meets with the approval of business, political and academic leaders worldwide.
I am pleased and proud that Tractebel in Germany has now been successfully awarded the EDGE “Assess” certificate. For me, the certificate confirms that we are already living gender diversity today.
The assessment included equality in recruiting and career opportunities, equal pay, promotion of female managers, flexibility of working models and corporate culture.
In an external audit, we drew up a local action plan, which includes five specific measures that we are implementing together:
- Training and awareness-raising for managers
- Career development for women and men during parental leave, e.g., in training and promotions
- Flexible working models
- Mobile working options
- Childcare options
Development of our corporate culture
Even before certification, I was aware that we are well aligned in terms of diversity. Every day, I experience open interaction in our company. I see women and men working together and supporting each other during international energy and water projects. Solutions are not found by individuals they are the result of exchange, cooperation and expertise from different (male and female) perspectives.
Even though Tractebel has always attached importance to equality, I enjoyed receiving external confirmation. However, this certification has also made us more aware of the opportunities for optimisation. We will now tackle these.
Great employer for women and men
I know that we are not quite there yet. However, despite the challenges in the engineering sector, we are working to make Tractebel a great employer and the company of choice for women in engineering.
This means we must continue to foster our positive environment; one that is open and values inclusion for all. Through initiatives like EDGE certification, we encourage more women to join our ranks of specialised professionals.
Together, the diversity of our workforce will make us better equipped than ever to advance our goal of a climate-neutral future. That is my vision!