December 04, 2023 • 5 min read
Diversity and inclusion:
moving the needle
How we’re building a more diverse and inclusive workplace
“Our industry is changing,” says Vikki Pink, our Chief People Officer. “It demands new skills and greater collaboration and innovation to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.
It’s our ambition to be recognized as a leader in sustainability solutions. Delivering on our diversity and inclusion targets is an important part of this.
“When we think back to how our industry was 50 years ago when Worley was founded, it was a different world with few women in engineering,” says Vikki. “Today it’s very different. Women are increasingly well represented in graduate, engineering, and site-based roles, as well as in leadership. And we know our numbers still aren’t where they need to be.”
Our next steps on our D&I journey
Veréna Preston, Senior Group Director, Investor Relations agrees.
“We’re on a journey and there’s no denying we’ve made huge strides forward over the last few years in our commitments to gender and diversity. But we haven't moved the needle enough,” she says. “We’re focused on creating an equitable and inclusive work environment where all of our people feel valued, safe, energized, recognized, understood and empowered to drive sustainable impact.”
So how can we not only create this workforce but retain it within the diversity and inclusion targets we’ve set?
Mentoring, supporting and encouraging
Veréna shares, “one way we can do this is through mentoring. I love doing this and it's a privilege, too. I get to see women grow in confidence, from not being sure about what they should do or where they should go to having the attributes to find their true passions, which can lead to a long and successful career.
“Also, in our industry, I believe the best thing you can do to set a solid foundation to your career is spending some time in your chosen discipline delivering projects and taking the opportunity to get on site.
“Working on site gave me a deeper understanding of how project execution works, and this will set you up for success whether you want to progress your career in engineering, sales or a people function,” observes Veréna.
“I started out as process engineer on a mine site over 25 years ago, when there weren’t many women. Often, we didn't have sufficient facilities. Thankfully, that’s pretty much unheard of, now,” she adds.
Vikki agrees that “increasing opportunities through secondments to project sites is one example of strengthening career enhancement, deepening capability in critical project delivery skills and is a good way to understand our customer drivers.
“Broadening skills will open doors to new prospects, but beyond this, we know that women may be less likely speak up when the chance comes along. And that’s why as leaders, we need to empower and encourage our women,” says Vikki.
Vikki observes, “we’re becoming more adaptable in the way that we employ and retain people. We’re looking more broadly to the kinds of people that we employ and what we offer them in terms of flexibility and work-life blend. There are different skills that we need for now and in the future and that requires us to think differently particularly when it comes to hiring and retaining women.”
Veréna concurs: “It’s important to support women at every stage of their career, but also recognize and provide flexibility in their life. Before I started my family I was in a senior role. I took some time off but when I was ready to return to work, I was faced with a preconceived idea that I wouldn’t be coming back into the same role because I wanted to work part time for a while.
“I persevered and was eventually given the chance to show this could be done without impacting productivity,” Veréna remarks. “I also fought for a working schedule that would suit the stage I was at in my life better. This was just 20 years ago. Now, I’m passionate about offering this to women at any grade or level as the norm and supporting our people to achieve their career goals while still juggling their personal choices and commitments.”
Veréna observes that “accountability is another critical element when it comes to making real change. And it starts from the ground up with every one of us.”
Vikki elaborates, saying “our leaders need to ask, what's the makeup of my team? And when we’re interviewing, we need to make sure we have a broad range of candidates across gender, and other forms of diversity, and refrain from any unconscious bias.
“We use data to define the problem and help us better understand root causes of bias,” Vikki explains. “We’re developing new hiring standards that allow a consistent, research-based approach to tackling the many subtle and nuanced biases that can impact on the fairness of any hiring process. And our leaders will now be held accountable for their decisions when it comes to hiring and promoting women.”
Vikki points out that “it’s so important that we inspire others to see themselves in our footprints so the next generation of women can lead courageously in an ever-changing future for our industry. That will be our collective legacy.”
Veréna agrees. “A diverse leadership team is a magnet for talent. It allows others to see themselves in leadership positions. That’s why increasing and leveraging diversity is a priority to us.
Vikki and Veréna recognize that we can’t achieve our diversity and inclusion targets overnight.
Veréna expects that “we’ll see considerable change in the representation, progression and inclusion of women in the workplace. There’s still a lot of work to do to build on the powerful work underway and make sure that our work makes a positive difference to the working lives of everyone at Worley.”
Vikki concludes: “It needs continuous effort to combat biases, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where everyone, regardless of their background, feels valued and included. We can’t take our foot off the pedal just yet.”
Our progress in numbers
Our 2025 goal is 30%
Our 2025 goal is 50%
Our 2025 goal is 20%