Estelle Brachlianoff, Executive Vice-President for Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “This initiative is critically needed. Veolia employs 14,000 people in the UK and we are looking for more female STEM graduates to fill these roles. Women represent half the population and we need to get better at engaging them, particularly when they are making important choices about their career path. This initiative is not just good for women, but UK Plc overall.”
According to a recent Royal Academy of Engineering report, 100,000 new STEM graduates are needed in the UK every year until 2020 to maintain current employment numbers.
Veolia has committed to visit at least 20 universities across the UK by the end of 2014 to promote its STEM careers to female students. These range from bio-chemistry to mechanical engineering, from soil science to chemical analytics. It has also pledged to further increase the percentage of women at all levels in its business through genuine engagement with organisations such as the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, the Women in Business Club at London Business School and the Inspiring Women Campaign.
Veolia made diversity one of the key strategic priorities in August 2013, starting at the executive team level. Furthermore, 38% of graduate applications and 31% of apprenticeship applications are now from women, and 83% of women at Veolia stay in employment after maternity or adoption leave – all well above the industry average.
Estelle said: “We are proud of the progress we have made, but there is always more to do. For Veolia, diversity is about more than metrics – it is a business strategy which leads to innovation, the lifeblood of our constantly evolving industry. We welcome the Government’s focus on engaging women in STEM careers, which complement our business strategy of embracing diversity through employment from a variety of backgrounds.”
Veolia recruits 61% of its staff from outside the waste and water industry, and supports employment opportunities for social groups who would otherwise struggle to gain work and achieve their potential. For example, it helps the long-term unemployed return to work, recruits widely from ex-military personnel, and has a work placement experience programme for the homeless. It helps NEETs get into the workplace and runs an ex-offenders’ programme with four prisons to deliver training, support and qualifications in waste management.