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Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in Engineering

diversity in engineering

We sat down to talk to Major Projects Quality Director at Balfour Beatty, Amanda McKay, to discuss her varied career and the challenges she faces as a transgender woman >


EMMA JAYNE GOOCH Head of Supply Chain Development & Innovation at Sellafield explains why there should be more women at board level >

Inspirational People Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Morson prides itself on being an equal opportunities employer that provides an inclusive environment to candidates and employees alike. We believe that diversity of thought promotes
innovation by bringing multiple perspectives to discussions and decisions.

In 2017 we launched our women in engineering pledge to double the number of female contractors by 2020 (on Women in Engineering day 2017 this stood at 7.5% of our contractor population).

We regularly profile the success stories of females within our industry highlighting the wide variety of careers in engineering and importantly, changing the perception of our industry from that of a male-dominated one to an inclusive and change-making industry.

We have been privileged enough to interview some of the most talented women in the engineering industry, exploring their career paths, challenges and inspirations to highlight the careers available to the next generation. 

Latest articles

► Balfour Beatty's Amanda McKay Talks LGBT Diversity in Engineering

► Senior Systems Engineer at Thales, Estel Dandridge, Talks Us Through Her Involvement in Developing Aria Technology with Oman Air

► Morson Vital Training and the Girls Network spark engineering interest in a new generation of young people | #CareersOnTrack

►  Morson Sponsor the Big Rail Diversity Games

► Jet-setting Chemical Engineering Career Sees Anna Travel the World


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Our YouTube channel explores the varied career's of some of our industry's most inspiring individuals, or continue to our diversity and inclusion blog to get the latest thought leadership, videos and content. 


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    Charlotte Lewis, Head of Technology at Morson Features in Northern Power Women Future List

    The country’s largest awards championing gender equalities announces the Future and Power Lists for 2020. Northern Power Women today have released the names of 102 women who have contributed to making a difference in their communities and organisations as well as raising awareness of gender equality across the North of England. The Power List celebrates women who challenge the norm and use their influence and power for good. The Future List recognises the leaders and change-makers of the future who are already making a difference in their environments and communities. Morson is particularly proud this year as one of their own, Charlotte Lewis, Head of Technology – Vencuro has been featured in the Future List. Commenting on her fantastic achievement, she said: “I'm delighted to be a part of the Northern Power Women's Futures list which celebrates women and men working towards creating gender balance in organisations across the entire Northern Powerhouse. As a working mum since the age of 23, I strive to inspire others by demonstrating that with the right mindset, you can balance work and home life. Ultimately my vision is two-fold: inspire women to use imposter syndrome to their advantage, and highlight the ways technology can support businesses striving for stronger ED&I. I’m truly passionate about empowering females to help them realise that a job title isn’t congruent with success or respect. Instead, true happiness lies with finding a role that brings you satisfaction, a path that suits you, and evolves at every stage of your life. Having in my 30s entered a senior role at a typically male-dominated level, I harnessed this very belief and channelled my confidence to achieve something special for the Morson Group, and I want to show others that you can overcome this same fear and instead use this energy to empower yourself.” Now entering their fifth year, the Northern Power Women Awards supported by headline sponsor EY celebrate the women and men who work towards creating gender balance in organisations and who passionately support equality across the North. “We are delighted to be headline sponsors of the 2020 Northern Power Women Awards. The awards fly the flag for women across the region and it has been a pleasure connecting with so many amazing women over the last three years.” Victoria Price Partner, EY The awards, which are now the largest in the country, showcase and spotlight the winners not only during the awards event, but also continuously throughout the year, to ensure ongoing visibility for these role models and to use their presence to inspire. 52 amazing individuals have been added to the Future List and a further 50 to the Power List sponsored by Manchester Airports Group. Northern Power Women is the only pan-northern campaign accelerating gender equality and involves a range of activities including connecting, influencing, thought leadership, and an annual awards ceremony. Simone Roche MBE, founder and CEO of Northern Power Women, who was interviewed on BBC World News yesterday, said that this year’s awards have seen an impressive 75% increase in the number of nominees for both the Power List and Future List. “Once again this year I have been absolutely amazed at the outstanding number and quality of nominations we’ve received and it has been hugely impressive to see the range of organisations represented – from defence, media, rail and tech to influential academics and entrepreneurs,” said Simone. “I’ve always known there were incredible role models in and from the North, but after receiving almost 1500 nominations, I have to say that even I was astounded. Our incredible category panels made up of 65 judges had a difficult – but inspiring – time identifying the shortlisted nominees.” “All levels of influence and sectors are recognised,” Emily Cox MBE, Northern Power Women judge and Power List ambassador said “It is fantastic to see so much representation from across the North within the Future and Power Lists”. The winners of the Northern Power Women Awards will be announced on 16 March at a gala awards night and dinner at the Manchester Central Convention Complex. To find out more about our commitment to diversity, visit our diversity hub.

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    Bringing Your Whole Self to Work | Samantha Clinch Discusses LGBTQ+ in the Workplace

    “In a previous workplace I definitely think I was treated differently because of my sexuality, but the industry has changed a lot since then.” Samantha Clinch is a recruitment manager for the Energy, Power and Construction division at Morson. Openly out since she was a teenager, Sam speaks to us about prejudice, overcoming stigmas and the power of truly inclusive workplaces. Tell us about your first career steps... "The very first job I had was working in the Trafford Centre in a DVD shop. Being a film lover, it was my ideal role. I was out at that time. In fact, I’ve always been out at every job I’ve ever had... I don’t think it ever occurred to me to not be. My first recruitment role was with a small company in Manchester city centre. Their culture was aggressively target driven and quite old-school, they would have no issues making an example of someone if they weren’t hitting their targets. On my first day I was told by the office manager that if I had a complaint it was tough because they didn’t have a HR team to complain to! I only stayed there a few months because it was such an unsupportive environment. A few people expressed surprise that I stayed in the recruitment industry after that." Has being openly LGBT at work ever affected your career? Have you ever felt like you have been treated differently because of your sexuality? "At a previous role, a senior manager took a dislike to what they classed as my ‘chosen lifestyle’. This phrase says it all. My sexuality is not a chosen lifestyle and using terminology like this is incredibly reductive and ignorant. In addition, the managers day to day behaviour towards me was inappropriate and often hostile. Because of this conduct I did make a complaint, but they had a one-person HR team and nothing was done about it. Suddenly, despite hitting all my targets, I was let go at the end of my probation period. The company's reason was that I “wasn’t promoting the company values” and when I tried to dig into what exactly was meant by that phrase, I got nowhere. I sent a lengthy email about unfair dismissal and was able to meet with the managing director and HR personnel. I detailed the managers inappropriate and prejudicial behaviour but afterwards got a letter from them which stated that I hadn’t been there very long, so I had very few employment rights. By this time I was already working somewhere else and I just wanted to move on and forget about the whole experience rather than pursue it." What's your experience of being out in your current role? "I feel incredibly comfortable being out at Morson and have never had any kind of negative experience regarding my sexuality. I’ve never had an issue or felt like I was being treated differently or marginalised in any way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never been a problem and that’s exactly how it should be." Has the industry changed since your career began? "Recruitment has changed a lot over the last 10 years and Morson has always been an inclusive place to work with a real community spirit. With regards to the industry outside of Morson, I think the negative experience I had in my previous role, while certainly not an isolated incident, is not representative of the industry as a whole. I was in another recruitment role for over 5 years before that experience and didn't encounter any bias. In fact, I was promoted twice! My experiences illustrate the importance of challenging negative and discriminative behaviour, no matter the position or seniority of that individual, to create open and inclusive environments where everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. Unfortunately, in my case, the manager was able to use their position to exercise their stigma because no one felt comfortable enough to challenge their actions" What advice would you give a member of the LGBT community just starting out in their career? "Do things at your own pace. Don’t feel like you need to be out but at the same time don’t feel like you need to hide it. It’s everyone’s personal choice as to whether they’re out or not and you shouldn’t let others dictate to you." Do you think there still needs to be education regarding discrimination? "I think people in general need to have more education about discrimination. LGBT rights have come a long way in the past 10 to 20 years though and things are very different to when I came out growing up. There’s always steps to be made though and people who still view it as ‘wrong’. I feel confident that by opening up conversations and challenging negative behaviours, things are going in the right direction." Ready to take the next step in your career? You can search all of our current vacancies here. Want to read more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion? Click here to read our blog.

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    Doubled Shortlisting in Diversity Awards for Morson Group

    Morson Group has been shortlisted in the first ever Engineering Talent Awards in two categories. The Engineering Talent Awards are a new recognition scheme that have been set up by Equal Engineers, an organisation headed up by Mark McBride-Wright. By connecting inclusive employers with diverse talent, their aim is to create inclusive engineering and technology organisations by increasing diversity and improve stakeholder mental health. Morson has been shortlisted in the categories of Large Employer of the Year and Best Recruitment Team of the Year. Our submission highlighted our continued showcasing of women within the engineering industry to act as role models for women considering a career within the sector. It also highlighted our sponsorship and support of key events and organisations such as the Big Rail Diversity Games, hosting the North West Diversity Forum and our membership of Stonewall, Europe’s largest LGBT charity. Other initiatives discussed included our rainbow laces scheme, where hundreds of Morson track operatives working on the London Underground were given rainbow-striped laces for their safety boots in celebration and support of the LGBT community. Support for mental health and wellbeing was a big focus of the submission. In 2018, Morson released our first mental health whitepaper, which included results from our contractor survey. It found that almost half (46%) of those living with a mental health condition hide it from their colleagues and employer, and almost 1 in 10 have considered taking their own life because of their mental health struggles. Alongside the appointment of a Health and Wellbeing Partner, we introduced over 30 Mental Health First Aiders – employees within the business who possess the skills to spot the signs of mental illness amongst our workforce and who have the confidence to intervene. For the category of Large Employer of the Year, Morson is shortlisted alongside Rolls Royce and UK Power Network. For the category of Best Recruitment Team of the Year, our recruiters are shortlisted alongside Cordant Engineering and the Siemens Talent Acquisition Team. The winners of each category will be announced at a gala awards dinner on 23rd April in London, along with the Overall Excellence in Engineering Award being presented to the overall winner. Read about our wider diversity and inclusion initiatives here.

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    International Women’s Day | We Chat to Peel Ports, Automation Technician, Emma Sanders

    This Sunday 8th March will mark #InternationalWomensDay2020, a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. This year the theme is #EachforEqual which highlights the importance of challenging stereotypes, fighting bias and broadening perceptions where collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. Throughout the week we have shared the inspiring stories from our inclusive role models series, the stories of women from all walks of life, working across engineering and technology. Today we share Emma’s story… Emma approached Morson back in November 2019 as she was made redundant from her position at Warwick University and looking for her next role. After a successful first and second stage interview, which included psychometric tests, Emma secured the position with Peel Ports in Liverpool as an Automation Technician. Starting on the 16th March, Emma will be joining their growing automation team and will be looking after all automation at Peels Liverpool dock. Emma explains why she chose to become an engineer and her aspirations for the future: “I never knew what I wanted to be when I was growing up; people would always suggest things but none of them ever appealed to me. When I was 15, I was at my friend’s house talking to her dad about what he had been doing in his engineering role and my friend started joking saying ‘if you are going to talk to my dad about his work, just go and work there so I don’t have to hear it’. That's when I realised that she was right, and I should try engineering. Before this point, I'd just never considered engineering as an option for a future career. After that, I started looking for apprenticeships. the main question I remember being asked was ‘would you be okay working with all males and being the only female’, at the time, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer and I was determined to not let this phase me . I am currently studying my HNC in Controls and Instrumentation Engineering, so my plan for the next 5-10 years is to complete that, continue to my HND and hopefully obtain my degree to help me to further my career.” Traditionally, engineering has always been perceived as a male-dominated industry, Emma talked about why it’s important that more women take up engineering: “I think that it is important for anyone looking into a career in engineering to feel like it's an option for them. A lot of women - or even young girls - get put off when they're told that it's a ‘male-dominated’ industry. I'm a strong believer in the idea that everyone should be allowed to follow their dreams and take a job that they want regardless of gender. The only way to change the stereotype would be for women to take up engineering and prove that it isn’t just a ‘man’s job’.” She explains why campaigns encouraging women into STEM professions such as International Women’s Day and Women in Engineering is so important: “Some of the challenges have come from people being surprised to see a female in a workshop. It makes you feel like you have to work twice as hard just to earn the confidence of your co-workers and prove that you can actually do the job you were hired to do. I think the work being done to encourage women in engineering has helped a lot with that though. Another challenge was always when you join a group of males and they suddenly act like they can't make jokes in case they offend you. It takes a while for them to become comfortable around you as a female if they have never worked with women in engineering before.” This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, Emma chats about what this means for her: “#EachforEqual brings light to the fact that equality is still an issue within engineering. I think it will help to encourage equality within the workplace and help me to not be seen as an anomaly as a female engineering technician. Gender equality is so important because you should be able to do what you love and what you're good at and enjoy your job. It's better to have a company of great engineers regardless of gender. There are so many amazing women in engineering and I would hate to think that these people wouldn't be in the field if gender equality had never become important.” We asked Emma, on International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers? “I think the most important thing to say to women thinking about their careers would be to follow your hearts. If you want to go into engineering, then just ignore what anyone else says and do it because you won't regret it. The only way to gain equality in engineering is to have women join the field and prove that it isn't just a man's job.” Find out how Morson can help you kick-start your career in engineering Rob Wilson, Morson’s Maintenance & Service Engineering Recruitment Consultant helped Emma progress her career, he discusses the importance of gender equality in business. “Emma approached me when she found out she was being made redundant. Within two months of our initial chat about her skills, experience and ambitions Emma is relocating to Liverpool to start her new role within one of the North West’s most iconic businesses, Peel Ports, and take on her next challenge within Engineering. It’s a happy coincidence that Emma secured this position so close to International Women’s Day. With this year’s theme #EachforEqual it’s great to work with companies and clients who are striving for gender equality within their businesses.” We’re working with all candidates to provide a truly accessible and inclusive recruitment journey. If you’re looking for your next challenge within maintenance and automation feel free to get in touch robert.wilson@morson.com. Alternatively, you can search for your next opportunity in all of our sectors here.

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    Morson Celebrates a Year of Creating an Inclusive and Accessible Recruitment Process with ReciteMe

    In February 2019 we announced our partnership with ReciteMe, a cloud-based web accessibility solution which allows us to customise our website to offer a suite of accessibility tools, including solutions for visitors with dyslexia, visual impairment and learning difficulties. Our mission? We wanted to ensure our online recruitment process was accessible to everyone to ensure that there are no barriers in place to hold talented people back. But our mission didn’t just cover our recruitment services, we wanted to ensure that our clients and candidates could not only browse and apply for our jobs with ease, but they could enjoy reading our story, get inspired by our blog content and learn from our hubs and guides. For this reason, ReciteMe was the perfect tool for us. In just one year we have helped 6,803 on their path to success. 6,803 people that may have not otherwise been able to apply for a role or read our latest blogs because of disabilities such as dyslexia, sight impairments and even language barriers. So, let’s look at the story so far… 6,803 people have used Recite Me. There have been 37,499 clicks on specific accessibility toolbar features. 67% of users have used the screen reader feature allowing users to select from 100 different language options, download website content as an MP3 and read-aloud website text in a natural voice. 23% have used recite me to translate our website into their preferred language. 7% of users have used ReciteMe’s styling features to change the font, colour, spacing and size of our website to help them to read more easily. Ross Linnett, CEO and Founder, Recite Me said: “Job opportunities are nearly always digital-first, and online application forms and skills assessments are now standard parts of the recruitment process. By adding Recite Me to their website, Morson is creating a more inclusive experience for candidates, and are widening and diversifying their talent pool.” TOP BLOG | Morson Embrace Latest Technology to Ensure Our Website is Accessible to People Living with Dyslexia. Ross, MD at ReciteMe Explains Its Importance We’re working hard to attract talent from untapped pools and so far, we’re proud of the changes that we’ve made to ensure our candidate journey is as inclusive as possible. However, we’re always looking to improve the services that we’re offering and utilise the latest technology to enhance the candidate journey. So, watch this space! To find out more about why accessibility in recruitment is so important and to learn more about the story behind Recite Me, visit our inclusivity and accessibility blog.

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    Will COVID-19 Enhance Inclusive Working Practices?

    Usually, culture change and the evolution of behaviours that support improved equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) happen gradually, over a prolonged period. But in these unusual times, changes to the way we work have not only been huge, they have also been instant, creating a need to adapt that’s already affecting ED&I in some surprising and thought-provoking ways. For some, working from home, at least for part of the working week, would have been a choice long before Government advice and social distancing regimes made it a reality. Often, however, workplace practices are often not tailored around the needs of the individual but around the needs of the company and the whole team. Consequently, those with other responsibilities, such as children or elderly relatives, find themselves balancing their work and life roles around an office schedule. One of the outcomes of the COVID-19 situation is that our new working reality has demonstrated that old working conventions do not have to be set in stone. Perceptions of value have shifted from the person who spends the longest day in the office to the person who is the most productive, despite the challenges of working from home and delivering projects as part of a physically disconnected team. This period of unorthodox working has taught us that unorthodox can work well. For example, it has given those who are most creative late at night the chance to allocate their most productive hours of the day as working time, and those who juggle work and family now have the freedom to work around all their responsibilities. For those managing a team, this creates an opportunity to play to the strengths of individuals and empower them to work in a way that suits them best. This period, and the technology we are using to make it work, could make the concept of a conventional working day seem old-fashioned, opening the door to improved inclusivity for those who have previously struggled to conform to the standard 9-5. Of course, there are caveats to this. For virtual meetings to be productive, we will need to be more mindful of colleagues’ working patterns, strengths and styles, so that conversations can be scheduled at a time and using a platform that suits everyone. However, this simply means that our experience of working remotely will be a catalyst for further positive change as we take more notice of the working preferences and the challenges or routines of others. Regular catch-ups can no longer be allowed to drop down the priority list because effective teamwork will rely on actively touching base with each other. Expectations and deadlines cannot be vague because micro-management and last minute curved balls are no longer possible, so communication will become simpler and more purposeful, with clear expectations set for deliverables and urgency. As we adjust to the new challenges of working outside of our regular routines, it also makes sense to assume that we will reach out beyond our regular team structures too. Getting work done will depend on leveraging the talent and experience within the business and, as homeworking makes location irrelevant, there will be increased opportunity for co-working across different departments, different sites or even different countries. With so much change surrounding us, it’s important to understand how we can use the current situation to embrace ED&I working practices, but it’s important not to lose sight of the obstacles that were preventing us from nurturing a more inclusive workplace before. Those obstacles still exist. Leaders must be conscious of any bias, which can result in them trusting colleagues who are most like themselves. It’s essential for those in a leadership role to ensure they consciously involve every member of their team, allocating tasks to all and checking in with everyone. Whether we have a fully-equipped home office or are camped out at the dining room table surrounded by home-schooling paraphernalia, this is a time when we’re all united by the need to keep everything as normal as possible, even though everything is further from normal than we’ve ever known it. The way we work now to develop a cohesive team will leave a legacy when we do all return to the workplace. That legacy may well enable people to work from home and hopefully, it will also involve enhanced understanding of inclusive working cultures.

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