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“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so” – An interview with Charles Hoskins

Did you know that Women Rock is not purely about Women? Ok the name may make you think so but we have so many brilliant others including men who are true advocates of diversity and inclusion. Also yes, Women Rock is a voice for diversity in tech but we are ready to spread our wings and start speaking about the Engineering Industry, which as per Charles words is known to be male, pale and stale with a whopping 92% of the engineering industry being male.  So we need to start talking!

Charles wants to start to penetrate the labs, manufacturing floors and software teams, so it’s not just HR talking about D&I. It would be a huge achievement to get any of my clients on here, but if some of the men in his network are talking and driving awareness, that’s a huge step in the right direction. Finally, he wants job seekers to see that this is an aim of ours and our clients. Women Rock can help us have a diverse candidate pool, where you can work at places which are inclusive.

Have a read, take note and let’s start talking about D&I in Engineering.

Why did you join SR2?

I felt like SR2 to me was different. I don’t mean we got to use different job boards or anything like that, but I see so many companies market themselves as a “Leading Engineering Recruitment company” etc … Like what value does that add!? SR2 were disrupters in the tech scene because they champion D&I and really put people first.

On a more personal note, I guess my own goals and ambitions were only going to be achieved somewhere where I had full control of them. Somewhere where I could be inspired again and hopefully inspire myself!

Women Rock has been focused on the Tech industry for a couple of years now, but we are excited to support D&I in Engineering. How can the engineering industry increase diversity in the workplace?

More than any other industry Engineering can be very male, pale and stale. It’s not the most welcoming, particularly for younger generations of engineers.

We can look at multiple areas here. Firstly, from more government grants driving apprenticeships in engineering fields in all-girls schools. From software engineering to mechanical design there are some super rewarding careers available that people should hear about. Secondly, we need an industry shift into using more gender inclusive words and phrases, changing the branding of engineering in all its marketing (an area massively impacted by recruiters, obviously).

As with anything, the biggest change comes from the people within this sector. Who are these people? Well right now 92% of them are men. So chaps, we need to get talking too!

How many businesses educate their staff on the benefits of D&I, other than “it’s something we should do”. Engineers are passionate about their products, but do they know a diverse work force has proved to have better work productivity, better company sales, customer satisfaction and innovation in what they make? What a great way to make the best thing possible and have the biggest impact possible by accepting a varied workforce.

The turnover of female staff in engineering is a lot higher compared to men, so we need to address retention. There are so many reasons that could attribute to this, but I’m confident if all staff know why it’s important to retain certain members of the company, people will band together to make the environment as accommodating as possible. If one of our readers is thinking that their R&D/leadership team is male dominated, why don’t they appoint at least one female in the company to be on any internal committees that vote on changes in the company. Give people a voice any way you can!

How have you encouraged an engineering company to be more Diverse?

By educating businesses on how easy sponsorship licences are to get. It’s allowed me to place candidates from all kinds of backgrounds. The engineering sector was predicted 1.82 million skills shortage jobs in the decade preceding 2022, and maximising the amazing talent in the wider world adds so much value to engineering teams. It’s a conversation I’m expecting to have more in a post-Brexit world.

Do you think Covid has had an impact on diversity within the industry?

I haven’t seen it first-hand if I’m completely honest, but Covid has forced a lot of working from home. I’m sure there are some great examples of overseas candidates working for a company in the UK from their living room anywhere in the world! Huge potential to implement a near-shore/off-shore development teams!

How do you think schools can help increasing diversity into STEM subjects?

Let’s start with recruiting teachers… For me, I LOVE History. I studied History at university and ask any of my friends, I will bore you to death with it if you give me the chance. This came from a string of teachers I had that I could really engage with and was inspired by. Of course, we need ‘the right hire’ to teach the class, but surely that hire is someone that’s going to represent a wider variety of the UK today, encourage all kinds of people to follow this career path and take a pro-active approach with diversity. Lets put that in our interview process!

What are your plans and ambitions for Women Rock?

I want to use this amazing platform to penetrate the labs, manufacturing floors and software teams, so it’s not just HR talking about D&I. It would be a huge achievement to get any of my clients on here, but if some of the men in my network are talking and driving awareness, that’s a huge step in the right direction. Finally, I want job seekers to see that this is an aim of ours and our clients. Women Rock can help us have a diverse candidate pool, where you can work at places which are inclusive.

What one song represents you?

‘Old Man’ by Neil Young

FYI I’m only 27 … but I take from the song he’s reflecting on his life, which I feel makes you appreciate things a lot more. It’s an acoustic song but I feel a happy one, with some simple drums that the percussionist in my likes. So there’s me – not old, but happy and simple ?

One last bit of advice?

I’ve mentioned talking about D&I loads, but the most important bit is action. Don’t be afraid to speak out against the norm and be the first person to start that change. Those are the people who are remembered and respected!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice Charles, we hope with you as a Women Rock ambassador we can see some great improvement in the Engineering world.

Keep Rocking

#womenrock

By Alicia Teagle 

A voice for diversity in Tech & Engineering <3

I: @womenrockbristol

T: @womenrockbrstl

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