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Good practice case studies

Investing in women and measuring success – AtkinsRéalis

What was the challenge you wanted to address?

The retention and progression of female talent.

Describe your approach

AtkinsRéalis has a multi-strand approach to retaining female talent and supporting more women to reach senior positions within the business, including a women-only career development programme, delivered in partnership with sector specialists, Skills 4 training.
Victoria Jones, Global Vice President comments “The Skills 4 programme is an integral part of our commitment to developing a truly inclusive workplace. Its success has meant that women in our organisation feel more empowered than ever to put themselves forward for stretch opportunities and promotions – a huge step forward for us and our sector.”

Since 2011, 1,773 women have been supported through the six-month programme where participants develop tools and techniques to overcome sector-specific barriers to career progression; build sustainable networks across the business and receive 1-2-1 support from sector experienced mentors.

More recently, an additional programme has been developed which is open to all employees who identify as part of an underrepresented group. Approval for both programmes is secured through support and sponsorship from senior leaders within the business which has the added benefit of high-profile role modelling resulting in an increased awareness of allyship and advocacy with more men wanting to become involved.

What was the outcome?

Individual impact –

98% had higher levels of confidence/self-belief.
94% had improved their communication skills.
89% were more positive about progression within their organisation.
Over 66% of programme participants were promoted within a year.

Organisational impact –

27% – 30% increase in the proportion of women in the workforce
14% – 18% increase of women at senior grades
7% – 9% increase in women’s retention rates across all grades

What were the key lessons learnt?

Each year, there is a waiting list to join the programme demonstrating the value female talent places on the opportunity to progress and develop alongside other women, says Jayne Little, CEO of Skills 4 training. In our sector, women are often in the minority within their own teams and so the opportunity to share experiences is an incredibly valuable experience for them. On average, over two-thirds of women completing the programme are promoted within 12 months, creating vital role models for younger women entering the business.