Bridging the Gap Research Project
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Bridging the Gap Research Project EHRC Conference – November 6, 2013. Project Overview. Bridging the Gap Women represent only one quarter of the electricity and renewable energy workforce

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Bridging the Gap Research Project EHRC Conference – November 6, 2013

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Bridging the gap research project ehrc conference november 6 2013

Bridging the Gap Research Project

EHRC Conference – November 6, 2013

Project overview

Project Overview

  • Bridging the Gap

    • Women represent only one quarter of the electricity and renewable energy workforce

    • Need to increase the attraction, recruitment, and retention of women as skilled workers to the electricity and renewable energy sector

    • Need to develop best practice models that can be used to support the industry in developing successful relationships that will positively impact the representation of women in the sector

Project activities

Project Activities

  • Secondary Research

    • Identification of existing programs/initiatives both within and beyond the sector to support the attraction, recruitment and retention of women

  • Primary Research

    • Key Informant Interviews (54 in total)

    • Online Surveys (3)

  • Case Study Development

Primary research

Primary Research

  • Three Key Stakeholder Groups

    • Women currently working within the industry

    • Women seeking entry into the industry (e.g., students, apprentices, women seeking career changes, unemployed/under-employed women)

    • Employers, organizations, unions, associations, educational institutions with existing programs to support the attraction, recruitment and retention of women

Preliminary research findings

Preliminary Research Findings

  • Online surveys recently closed

  • Detailed analysis of all research findings is required

  • Preliminary findings and trends can be discussed at a high-level

Women working within the industry

Women Working within the Industry

  • Women of varying:

    • Ages

    • Years of experience

    • Occupational roles (e.g., engineering, trades, technology, finances, administrative)

  • Participation through:

    • Online survey

    • Key informant interviews (KIIs)

Women working within the industry1

Women Working within the Industry

  • Why the electrical industry?

    • Compensation and benefits

    • Familial influence (parents, siblings, etc.) in industry

    • Like the outdoors; working with hands

    • Love of math and sciences

    • Challenging and innovative industry

    • Portable skills

    • Stable employment

Women working within the industry2

Women Working within the Industry

  • Barriers/challenges faced

    • Lack of mentoring/sponsorship

    • Work/life balance (e.g., overtime, shifts, etc.)

    • Male-dominated culture

    • Gender stereotypes and stigmas

    • Challenges with advancement

    • Lack of female representation in middle- and upper-level management roles

    • Have to work harder to be taken seriously and have voice heard

Women working within the industry3

Women Working within the Industry

  • Perceived retention factors

    • Job satisfaction

    • Compensation, pension, benefits

    • Job security

    • Opportunities to learn and grow professionally

    • Hard-earned success

    • Challenging and rewarding career

    • Opportunity to make a difference

Women working within the industry4

Women Working within the Industry

  • What can Employers do?

    • Have more women in senior roles and leadership positions

    • Increase awareness (e.g., high schools, communities, universities/colleges, etc.)

    • Work to remove the ‘old boys club’ mentality

    • Provide mentoring and flexibility/supports

    • Reflect on the realities of female workers within organizations and act accordingly (e.g., identify systemic issues and resolve)

Women seeking employment

Women Seeking Employment

  • Women from various pathways:

    • Secondary school students

    • University/College students

    • Apprentices

    • Women seeking career changes

    • Unemployed/under-employed women

  • Participation from:

    • Online survey

    • Key informant interviews (KIIs)

Women seeking employment1

Women Seeking Employment

  • Occupations/Professions of interest

    • Majority of online survey participants and many KII participants expressed interest in engineering profession within renewable energy sector

    • Number of interest indicated a desire to help the environment, initiate/support green initiatives, conserve resources and make positive change as factors

  • Significantly less identification of trades as career options – notion of ‘clean’ vs. ‘dirty’ jobs

Women seeking employment2

Women Seeking Employment

  • Perceived challenges to getting into industry

    • Limited training in renewable energy, which is where many young female engineers want to work

    • Not enough information/advertisement about careers while in university/college

    • Challenges getting work hours/apprenticeships to gain employment in the sector

Women seeking employment3

Women Seeking Employment

  • What can employers do to enhance recruitment?

    • Enhance networking opportunities to gain better understanding of sector and careers

    • Promote careers more during schooling and training to ensure proper learning path

    • Educate community at large about possibilities (e.g., radio, TV, multi-media, social media)

    • Clearly outline expectations and requirements for positions

Women seeking employment4

Women Seeking Employment

  • What can employers do to enhance retention?

    • Implement flexible work models and other approaches to support a work/life balance

    • Educate all employees of benefit of having women in the workplace to breakdown stereotypes

    • Develop forums, meeting places, networking opportunities for women to communicate and share ideas

Employers associations educators


  • Various types of stakeholders:

    • Colleges/universities

    • Women’s advocacy groups

    • Professional associations

    • Unions/labour organizations

    • Charitable organizations

    • Sector/industry associations

Employers associations educators1


  • What are the challenges/barriers to employment within the sector?

    • Pigeon-holing (e.g., start in admin., stay in admin.)

    • Perceptions of male-industry, male jobs

    • Lack of role-models, mentors and networks

    • Lack of knowledge of training paths and opportunities

    • Access to apprenticeships to get foot in the door

Employers associations educators2


  • Successful approaches:

    • Workplace preparedness (i.e., preparing women to work in male-dominated settings and assisting to make informed career choices)

    • Assisting women to find appropriate training and apprenticeship opportunities

    • Providing financial support while women complete their training

    • Assisting women to seek employment following training

    • Providing opportunities for mentoring and networking

Employers associations educators3


  • Successful approaches cont’d:

    • Providing skills assessments and upgrading (e.g., math, science, physics)

    • Introducing young women (in secondary school) about the opportunities in trades/technology and other non-traditional roles

    • Programs that provide support for upwards of two years, to assist with their employment journey

    • Pre-apprenticeship programs to provide real experiences in various settings

    • Co-op programs

Final results

Final Results

  • Additional insights will be presented in the final project report and case studies in the new year

  • Findings from current research and the Alberta phase will be incorporated

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