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What women want – attracting the best women in engineering

What women want – attracting the best women in engineering

WORK180
WORK180Jun 24, 2020

Companies that understand the value of diversity from a business perspective will often change their culture to be more inclusive to ensure they reap the rewards of a diverse workforce. In Engineering there has been an increased focus by progressive companies to attract and retain women. We have previously shared stories from women creating amazing careers in engineering.

We spoke to women who work in engineering roles at some of our Endorsed Employers. We asked them what their company did to attract and retain them. We also found out what they value in their employers – the things that really make these companies market leading!

To hear what the best employers are doing to attract the best women to positions in engineering, read on below.

Sarah Hannah, Head of Asset Performance at AGL Energy: The energy industry is transforming, and I wanted to be part of it! AGL has the largest portfolio of power generation in Australia. With that comes the opportunity to shape the future creating sustainable power for our communities. My non negotiables in an employer are great leadership, strong company values, flexibility and progressive thinking. I have been at AGL for 8 years and they have a big tick in every box.

Megha Jensen, Senior Chemical Engineer - Kwinana Alumina Refinery at Alcoa: I want to work for an employer that values my contribution, recognises my differences and enables me to work to the best of my ability. When I look at Alcoa’s leaders, I see a group who value the happiness of their employees as well as their productivity. We are trusted to work independently without micro-management, but also expected to work to a high standard. Examples of flexible work practices and hours are evident throughout the organisation, and I personally have benefited from this understanding with my supervisors.

Joanne Gad, Project Director at Alstom: Alstom is not only a worldwide known international company but also a national company spread across Australia ranging from signalling to rolling stock and other critical train products. Overseeing all signalling projects in Victoria, and expanding to also a customer interface role, I have always felt supported and respected by my management and honoured too as a female leader and as an engineer. Gender wasn’t an issue, and I always feel valued in Alstom.

Cate, Manager at BAE Systems Australia: BAE Systems has an incredible breadth of complex and challenging Defence and national security projects that are delivering exciting new capability and growing our national workforce and supply chains. The opportunity to contribute to a significant national project that would challenge me and develop my career is what attracted me to BAE Systems. But it was their willingness as an employer to support flexible working arrangements that help me balance my personal commitments with work that I really valued.

Megan Pittard, Manager Mobile Equipment Maintenance at BHP: In my career so far I have worked with several high performing engineers across different businesses and industries, in this time I have also seen a large portion of them join BHP. It’s one thing to recruit talent - and diverse talent especially in technical fields, but for a business to retain and further nurture this talent was an attractive feature of joining the BHP team.

Sheree Cooks, Project Manager at Boral Asphalt Queensland: What initially attracted me to Boral was their graduate program. The graduate program is a great opportunity to experience various sectors of the construction materials business. Attributes I hope to find in an employer Is potential for growth. In an ever changing world it is always important to look to the future and see if there is potential for growth, both professionally and personally. Also their culture. A cohesive work environment has the ability to make an individual feel like they are a part of a team rather than a bunch of individuals working within the same space. Effective teamwork can foster trust and respect within the work place, which can lead to many secondary benefits for both the individual as well as the business.

Ming Prince, Data Centre Systems Engineer at Cisco: What attracted me to work for Cisco is the opportunity to use technologies to bring positive impacts to our partners, customers and the wider community. What I value most from an employer is the culture. Cisco has an amazing culture of diversity and inclusion, supporting each other and giving back. As an Asian female engineer and a mum, I have always felt respected and supported in the workplace.

Kimberley Whitehead, Project Engineer – Infrastructure Projects working on the Warrnambool Line Upgrade Project, Structure package at Downer: Dante Cremasco’s business within Downer ran some great safety initiatives and are genuinely people focused with relationships at the forefront with all key stakeholders. I found this environment really fulfilling to work in and proven to achieve great outcomes. This relationship and quality outcome focus is what I value most in an employer.

Francoise Cuvillier Hochart, Senior Solution Architect at Ericsson: What attracted me to work for Ericsson; Ericsson brand/reputation and technology leadership, opportunities to work on various projects and in various countries - I worked in 14 countries since I joined Ericsson in 1997, Ericsson’s culture - employees are valued and treated fairly and Ericsson’s safe work environment - high-quality facilities and equipment. What I value most; Caring and supportive environment, team atmosphere, opportunities to grow (technical competence and leadership skills), work/life balance and flexible hours.

Kristine Cuer, Network Support Engineer II at F5 Networks: Prior to submitting my application to F5, I did my fair share of research about the company, especially about its work culture. What attracted me the most is the collective employees’ feedback of it being a company with a culture that encourages innovation, teamwork, and critical thinking. Now that I am a part of F5, what I value most from being here is the opportunity to grow – we have a wide range of technology and innovations and every day is a learning curve. No day is the same and that takes away pitfall of having mundane daily work life. Additionally, it is great to be in a company that values diversity and breaks the mould of the old mindset that engineering is man’s world.

Jessica Breen, Senior Project Engineer at Laing O’Rourke: What initially attracted me to Laing O’Rourke was that it is a family orientated company who genuinely care for their staff. This has been reinforced constantly over the 8 years I have worked for the company. They have an industry leading maternity and paternity leave policy, are actively bringing about change in the industry through their diversity and inclusion agenda, have a major focus on mental health and wellbeing and actively promote flexible working across the business.

Sarah Carney, Architect Manager, Microsoft: I start to sound evangelical when I talk about Microsoft, but having worked across three different continents, dozens of countries and multiple industries, I have never worked for an organisation that invests so deeply in its people, whilst at the same time empowering them and providing them with so many opportunities to follow their passions. Out of these it is empowerment that really speaks to me and I value the most. The opportunity to come up with wild ideas and then be given the independence to make them a reality is a huge differentiator for me.

Frances Badelow, General Manager – Australia at Mott MacDonald: I value integrity and honesty in an employer – this is both towards its staff and its clients. A good employer creates an environment where employees can thrive technically and professionally.

Sara Meng, Technical Director at Mott MacDonald: I am enjoying my work since I joined Mott MacDonald, because the company has been supportive, creative and not limited for any opportunity that will help me to develop myself and become more professional and successful. The resources are the most valuable treasure that Mott MacDonald offers that include not only technical, but also team, leadership and digital tools.

Mel Thompson, General Manager – Network Deployment at nbn Australia: I value nbn for the amazing career opportunities, every day is varied and over the years I have had the opportunity to work on many exciting and challenging projects. As a result, my career has continued to advance, from project management to people leadership and now into General Management of a large, complex portfolio of work and department. nbn has also supported me through having my first child, they have a great maternity leave policy and they provided me with flexibility in the way that I work, focusing on outcomes. I also value the supportive, collaborative leadership culture amongst the executive team, and my peers. This allows us to achieve much more as a collective group, all working together to achieve our targets and objectives.

Jill Macmurchy, Vice President of Customer Solutions APJ at New Relic: I was attracted to New Relic because it was in a technology space that I was interested in, it was a high growth company and I was the first person on the ground in APJ to assist in the initial start-up of the region. The culture of New Relic and our core values also really resonated with me.

Courtney Dobson, Graduate Metallurgist - Cadia Valley Operations, NSW at Newcrest Mining: After joining the local Australasian Institute of Mining and Minerals (AusIMM is the peak body for professionals in the resources industry which connects students with industry), student chapter, my passion for the industry was born. My passion for mining was further boosted when I completed a course of vacation work at Newcrest’s Cadia Operations in NSW. To go from learning the differences in SAG mills and HPGRs in the classroom to actually experiencing the two in operation was invaluable. It’s fair to say after that vacation work I was hooked. I excitedly signed on to Newcrest’s graduate program following my vacation work and haven’t looked back since.

Samantha Taylor, Senior Production Engineer - Carrapateena SLC Mine at OZ Minerals: Whether it be as an individual or a professional, the most important aspect of life is learning and development and this goes hand in hand with continuous improvement. When OZ Minerals offered me the opportunity to start the production at Carrapateena mine from scratch; I saw it as if I was Mark Zuckerberg being funded to start up Facebook except I could add value to consolidate my past experiences as well as continue to enhance my skill set.

Lissette Geronimo, Systems Engineer at Penten: Penten is a company that value and takes care of their staff. I was looking for a flexible and nurturing working environment where I can continue growing as a professional and at the same time allow me to dedicate quality time to my daughter, and I’ve found it here …I’m very happy to be working in Penten. The main aspect for me was to work in a growing industry, which cybersecurity is. Here I can apply my skills and experience, and most of all continue learning from the best people and subject matter experts in the technical arena and acquire more knowledge.

Sonia Hegde, Lead Design Engineer- Land 400 Phase 3 at Rheinmetall Defence Australia: I have always wanted to say “I am a Tank Engineer”! In the last few years in Australia, more and more of the manufacturing has moved offshore. It is common for engineers to design products on a computer and never have the opportunity to see it being made in-house and be involved with all aspects of manufacture. With Rheinmetall’s new facility in Redbank and a host of local suppliers, it is exciting to walk into the factory and see a part you designed being made and installed on a vehicle. The opportunity to be part of the team bringing manufacturing back to Australia is what attracted me to this job. Being in a male-dominated field, one of the values I always look for in an employer is being respected for my technical ability and not be treated differently based on my gender. From Day 1 at RDA, I always felt valued and not just a diversity statistic. Company culture comes from the top and in all my interactions with the managers; I have always felt included and heard.

Sian Miller, Manager – Asset Management & Operational Risk at Stanwell Corporation Limited: What attracted me to Stanwell was not just the fact that the power industry, the work, and the sites were fascinating, especially in transitioning to a new operating environment with renewables integration, but also because it was very evident from the outset that Stanwell had a tremendous depth of engineering capability. Combining this, with the opportunity to interact and learn from Stanwell engineers with long experience, and the observation that Stanwell very evidently saw the fundamental and ongoing importance of engineering to the business, for me it was compelling on many levels to join the company

Ellie Beurteaux, Mechanical Engineer for NWS Gas Platforms at Woodside Energy: Firstly, a commitment and action by my employer towards creating diverse teams. Not just in terms of gender, but also age, experience, cultural background and personality. An employer that empowers you and your colleagues to think differently, offering you the opportunity to investigate and pursue new ways of working, is always a great place to work. Additionally, I value an employer that supports and provides opportunities for young people to take part in the decision-making process and take up leadership roles in the company.

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About the author

WORK180

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.


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