Arup operates within the traditionally white, male discipline of engineering. Yet we have a track record of recruiting a higher proportion of females and minorities than exist in the recruitment pool. Arup’s diversity comes from a commitment to nurturing talent within the organisation and by seeking to recruit the most diverse pool of young people. Some of the things we have done to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to enter STEM and related careers include:
Working with Teach First’s Higher Education Access Programme for local schools to recruit students for Arup Engineering Awareness programmes – targeting students from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds.
We participate in a national initiative, the Engineering Development Go4SET programme, providing mentoring support for students and encouraging them to work in our industry.
Arup outreach ambassadors – females and individuals from ethnic minorities and other diverse backgrounds – go out into communities and speak directly to young people who otherwise may never have considered engineering an exciting career choice.
We have been working hard for several years to cultivate a more diverse workforce. At the Board level, Arup is pursuing a coordinated and global diversity strategy, focusing on four broad areas that will help make Arup an even more attractive place to work for young people from under-represented backgrounds:
Inclusive Leadership: We are equipping our leaders with the skills, knowledge and framework to act as role models and challenge the status quo. Arup leaders will be accountable for ensuring that their teams embrace a diverse and inclusive culture.
My Career at Arup: We aim to ensure that all Arup employees are empowered to embrace diversity, that all staff are free to express themselves fully and that we provide opportunities for networking and skills and knowledge development. Building on the success of our ConnectWomen network, in the last year we have supported the emergence of ConnectOut, our LGBT network, and ConnectCultures, our culture and ethnicity network.
A Diverse Organisation: We are studying the way Arup is organised in order to ensure that our policies, processes and ways of operating are supportive and do not hinder diversity and that we move towards an organisational culture where diversity is evident in all we do.
Our Diversity Brand: We aim to achieve recognised benchmarks and awards, widening the recruitment pool, leading by example, and meeting clients’ expectations.
Having a diverse talent pool is absolutely essential to Arup and it’s considered of utmost importance to make Arup as attractive as possible to young people from diverse backgrounds. Working proactively with diversity, rather than simply reacting to it, can yield better performance and productivity. Cultivating a more diverse Arup will help us to nurture creativity, unlock hidden capacity for growth and competitiveness, and positively impact our financial performance.
We have built our strategy from a whole system point of view to ensure we tackle the challenge from all angles. This includes working hard to recruit a diverse range of people into the industry as a whole. We believe that drawing from a talent pool of young people from diverse backgrounds can bring great benefits to our company, including:
- The ability to recruit, retain and progress the best talent
- Improving our leadership and decision making capacity
- Increasing opportunities for creativity and innovation
- Meeting client and stakeholder expectations
- Increasing staff satisfaction
- Keeping to our core values
A diverse workplace not only improves organisational performance but it also enhances team spirit, boosts creativity and demonstrates we are living to our values as set out in the Arup key speech. Employees who feel comfortable that they can express themselves fully in the workplace and are not disadvantaged for any reason because of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc experience higher levels of job satisfaction, well being and are more able to make a positive contribution to the business.
We are pleased with our achievements to date in tackling gender bias, which affects a large number of new recruits. Arup is now one of the first choices for female graduates in the United Kingdom. While the proportion of female UK engineers is just 8.7%, 41% of Arup’s recruitment intake is female. 35% of our staff is female and 15% of our leaders are female, figures well above the norm within the UK engineering industry. Our efforts in improving the gender balance at Arup serve as a model for attracting other groups currently under-represented in the engineering industry.
Through our work promoting STEM in schools we hope to attract more women to our company but also to have a wider impact on the industry as a whole.
Once in our firm, our work to provide a diverse and flexible workplace will help to ensure that we retain the best talent, reducing our recruitment costs in the longer term.
We believe that a diverse organisation makes different and better decisions. It also performs more effectively. Mixed groups are not only more creative, but more productive, helping us to exceed client expectations and win new work.