27 Nov 2018 -

Shaping the future – Astute Discuss the Advantages of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace improves problem-solving and boosts creativity. Astute believes it’s vital to recruiting and retaining the next generation of electronics industry professionals

A career in the electronics industry has a great deal to offer. Engineering positions promise higher employability for graduates, generous starting salaries and international positions with global companies. But engineering is not the only career option available. There are exciting positions in quality assurance, supply chain, account management, operations and more. Talent and expertise are vital in these areas to tackle demanding market conditions and it is down to manufacturers and distributors to promote the industry and invest in people long-term to entice and retain the caliber of candidate required.

Vacancies on the Up

By 2030, automotive electronics are predicted to make up as much as 50 percent of the total cost of a car. With technology evolving rapidly in every sector, it’s no wonder that employment opportunities are on the rise, particularly in areas such as engineering.

Unfortunately, a recent study by Women in Engineering revealed that just 11 percent of the engineering workforce was female as of 2017. Nonetheless, 84 percent of the 300 female engineers surveyed were either happy or extremely happy with their career choice. Astute bucks the trend here, with 42.07 percent of the workforce being female, but it begs the question: is enough being done to encourage women into the industry?

Advantages of Diversity

There is a clear competitive advantage to be gained from employing a diverse workforce. Businesses stand to benefit from the differing ideas and approach of people from dissimilar backgrounds, cultures, and genders. Diversity can also have a positive impact on employee performance and innovation.

Mechanical engineer at European manufacturer of missile systems, MBDA, Jamie D’Ath commented: “Encouraging more women into science, technology, engineering and maths related industries is of critical importance and should be treated as a priority by employers. A number of these disciplines suffer from significant skills shortages which can be effectively tackled by encouraging more women to consider STEM as
an option.

“In engineering, just 11 percent of roles have been held by female professionals in recent years, which obviously needs to improve and, thankfully, it is. However, it’snot just about tackling skills gaps. The most important reason for encouraging more women to take on STEM subjects is that having a diverse workforce is good for business. Having a team comprised solely of engineers from one gender and one background encourages homogenous thinking, whereas having different perspectives and approaches on board can improve problem-solving capabilities and lead to improved decision making and creativity. Diversity is no longer a fluffy initiative, it’s critical to delivering successful results.”

A role model for young people considering STEM industry careers, Jamie was shortlisted for the Young Woman Engineer of the Year in 2017 and awarded the Mary George memorial prize for apprentices.

Attracting Female Candidates

Interestingly, a recent campaign by WISE points out that women are more likely to articulate their self-identity using adjectives, whereas men are more likely to talk about themselves in terms of what they do using verbs. This suggests that girls are more likely to pursue an opportunity if adjectives are used to describe the attributes required in a STEM role. Essentially, this message could open up the industry to an audience that could not previously identify with a

STEM profession. Developing a communication method that speaks to all audiences is vital for the recruitment process and throughout the duration of an employer-employee relationship to retain an inclusive company culture and foster a creative working environment.

Building the Future

Sales and marketing director at Astute Electronics, Mark Shanley, agrees, saying: “It is important to allow the next generation to take the lead in helping to move the business forward. It’s difficult to learn when you’re not trusted to make the decisions, but at Astute we are creating an environment for people who think differently and are empowered to make the right decisions.

“There needs to be more emphasis on coaching and mentoring younger business executives to help them expand their knowledge with support from experienced colleagues. At Astute, we have been creating several opportunities for forward-thinking individuals to join our teams in various roles.

With new facilities recently opened in Austin Texas as well as Munich Germany, we have various exciting career openings within sales, customer service, project management and, of course, engineering.”

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