Orlagh Bibby’s job as marketing manager here at Morson Group may not be a ‘stereotypical’ engineering role, but that’s not to say that she doesn’t need any technical understanding to carry out her day to day activities; far from it.
“I definitely need a good knowledge of the sector and activities of the Group to do my job effectively,” explains Orlagh.
“Marketing is all about engaging with the right people, at the right time and in the right way, so it’s crucial that I not only understand our own business from a technical perspective but our customers’ environments and commercial priorities too.
“It’s those insights that ensure marketing activity makes a meaningful impact on business growth, brand awareness and, ultimately, revenue.”
Orlagh studied STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects at high school but hadn’t envisaged building a career in the engineering sector until she was appointed in her first marketing role with a high-tech global engineering company.
She continues: “I studied journalism and communications at university and, after landing my first job as a journalist for a local newspaper, I fully expected to develop my journalism career and work towards my dream of becoming a TV news reporter.
“However, getting involved with the advertising department at the paper sparked an interest in marketing and after two years as a journalist I moved into my first marketing role.”
Once working in an engineering environment, Orlagh discovered that her preconceptions of the sector were a far cry from what it’s really like to work in the industry.
“A career in engineering is not something that would ever have occurred to me when I was at school because the variety of roles wasn’t something that was promoted to us,” she says.
“These days, more is being done to engage young people in engineering and help them see the potential opportunities available to them.”
And Orlagh should know. She recently attended the ‘Big Bang Fair’ in Birmingham, organised by Engineering UK. She points out that these types of events are vital in helping young people decide which subjects to study and also in helping them to understand the breadth of opportunities in the sector, including areas such as marketing and finance, as well as core engineering disciplines.
“More still needs to be done, though,” she points out, “particularly when it comes to women in engineering. We need more female role models and a drive to give young women greater confidence to pursue a career in engineering and believe that they have a valuable contribution to make to the sector.”
Now that she works in an engineering-related business, Orlagh believes that the sector provides a great working environment for women and feels accepted and valued by her male colleagues.
“I do work in a male-dominated environment but I also work in a company where colleagues respect each others’ skills and the value they bring to the organisation.
“The people I work with, my mentor and my team are amazing. They inspire me every day and most definitely helped me to secure a personal achievement recently, when I was awarded CIM’s Marketer of the Year 2016!”
After almost four years with Morson Group, Orlagh is very positive about the future prospects of women in the sector and delighted that she has been able to combine her love of marketing with her enthusiasm for engineering. Her advice to others considering a career in engineering is to just go for it.
“All that’s lacking for female opportunities in engineering is ambition. There are very few women working at director level and I would like to see that change over the next few years with more young women grasping engineering sector opportunities with both hands.”