JCB is urging women to seriously consider a career in engineering as it strives to tap into new talent and balance the male and female workforce numbers.
The appeal comes after gender pay figures reported to the Government showed a 14.3 per cent hourly pay gap for the Staffordshire-based business – which JCB believes can be addressed by promoting more women into management positions.
Chief Executive Graeme Macdonald said: “There is still a misconception that engineering is more suited to men; this is absolutely not true. JCB is a global business and we see diversity as vital to our continued success. We very much want to attract more women into what is a dynamic, exciting industry and to promote more women into middle and senior management.
“However, this is an industry-wide issue and it is not a problem that can be fixed overnight. We need to start at the grass roots, change perceptions of the industry and attract more girls into engineering at an early age. We are working hard at all levels to achieve this goal through sponsorship of the engineering focused secondary school, The JCB Academy, and through our own Young Talent programmes.
“The figures show that our hard work is beginning to pay off, as do the achievements of our high-flyers like Daisy Coombes who was recently voted the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Apprentice of the Year.”
In the early years after the JCB Academy opened just nine per cent of students were females. This September, the female intake will be 25%. Female-only open days and engineering events in feeder schools led by female staff are credited with sowing the seeds for this change. The ambition is to achieve a 50/50 gender split.
Similarly, JCB’s apprenticeship scheme is seeing a rise in female recruits with 18 young women expected to join the company in 2018, compared to just three in 2017. Other simple changes made by JCB to challenge industry stereotypes and begin to change perceptions include ensuring girls and women are represented in all educational and business marketing literature and at high profile recruitment events.