Jaguar and Land Rover were this week named as winners of the first Women in Science Engineering and Technology (SET) Award at the Working Families Employer of the Year Awards in London. The prestigious accolade presented by Meg Munn MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equality, recognises industry-leading practices in relation to gender equality in the workplace.
The judges' decision to make this award, the first of its kind, to Jaguar and Land Rover, was based on the company's proactive plans to recruit, retain and reward women in the challenging world of automotive engineering and for its ‘excellent understanding and communication’ of the business case for gender diversity.
Maria Antoniou, Human Resources Director at Jaguar and Land Rover, said: "At Jaguar and Land Rover, we want to build an environment that allows everyone to fulfil their potential, and is flexible enough to accommodate employees’ different circumstances. This allows every employee to contribute to our business success. Part of this has been the development of a culture that accepts there is a need to balance work with home life. It makes good business sense to have a happy and healthy workforce. It’s not just morally right to promote work-life balance and diversity; it’s a commercial necessity!"
This view was shared by Jaguar and Land Rover Engineer, Angela Hopewell, who applied to work part-time on return from maternity leave. She commented: "I didn't have to go looking for the policies to work part-time (at Jaguar and Land Rover), they were just there."
Diversity and work-life balance have long been central to the companies’ business strategy to create a fair and supportive business ethos with behaviours that acknowledge the rich mix of people that make up the business. This desire to build a diverse working environment, which values and respects people's differences, drove the development of detailed and comprehensive policies aimed at enabling employees to adopt self-help strategies to reduce any strain on their personal / home life as a result of demands of work.
Karen Sadler, Business Development Manager of the award sponsor, the UK Resource Centre (UKRC) and member of the judging panel, said: "Jaguar and Land Rover have shown huge commitment to the women’s agenda at a time when the car industry is in economically challenging times, by investing in nurseries and offering a year’s maternity leave on full pay, as well as a range of flexible working options. It has excellent anti-bullying and harassment policies and makes creative use of job-sharing, even on the production line. All this has resulted in 99% retention of women returning from maternity leave. A truly deserving winner."
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