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Insights Does AtkinsRéalis really champion women engineers? Read on if you're ready for change…

Senior Mechanical Engineer Mel shares her experience as a woman shaping a successful career at AtkinsRéalis. From overcoming barriers to embracing diversity and inclusion, Mel shares her career story and the supportive culture she enjoys. Learn about our initiatives that empower women like Mel to excel and the importance of a work-life balance in nurturing professional and personal well-being.

Photo of Rebecca smiling towards the camera

Hello Mel, how did you overcome barriers when progressing in your career?

A barrier is only a barrier if you perceive it as one. If you witness or are subject to something that is a 'barrier,' then you need to challenge it, question it, what is it, and why is it there? It is an opportunity to voice a concern and highlight the issue to your peers, be they members of the management team or your work colleagues.

One barrier I was subject to with a previous employer was an evident pay gap between me and my equivalent male colleague, where my salary was less. I discussed salaries with my colleagues and openly compared my worth. I questioned management, and they justified the pay gap. Ultimately, I left that employer as I could not bring about change in that policy.

What advice would you give to women coming up behind you?

Have a positive mindset, and remember you are as good as everyone else. You've worked hard to get where you are. Understand the promotional prospects with your employer, explore them, and develop a plan—where do you want to be in five years? Be proactive and flexible, take on new opportunities to increase your career portfolio, and expose yourself to new challenges. You will probably surprise yourself!

What might surprise people working at our competitors about life at AtkinsRéalis?

I've been with AtkinsRéalis for about five months, and a definite wave of change is sweeping through the team. The Decommissioning & Waste Services (DWS) teams are growing and diversifying, and they have a liberal and progressive mindset. As a global organization, the drive to diversify gender and ethnicity is a positive way forward. We have a real mix of people in the team from all different backgrounds, and now there is the opportunity to prompt conversations, break down barriers, erase preconceptions, and make diversity part of the business fabric. I am from a mixed ethnic background, so it's the norm for me.

"I'm happy to be part of an organization that has actively embraced diversity and inclusion and is making it the norm."
—Mel, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Nuclear & Power

How does AtkinsRéalis' culture enrich and support you personally?

My team consists of people of different ages and backgrounds. We range from mature engineers to apprentices just starting in the business. Everyone has diverse habits and ways of thinking and working, and the key to us working so well is trust and communication. We do talk a lot about work and non-work-related subjects.

My team has a great sense of humor. We're open with each other, listen to each other, offer guidance, and have trust and respect for each other. We encourage positive behaviors and 'red card' the bad ones. Everyone has the occasional bad day, which is when we talk and try to get the person to share their problems because sometimes that is all that is needed.

How do you #MakeItBrilliant in your role?

I'm happy to work for AtkinsRéalis because we share the same values: safety, integrity, collaboration, innovation, and excellence. I've always cultivated a healthy work-life balance and promoted it amongst my colleagues. From my experience, AtkinsRéalis also encourages employees to enjoy having a work-life balance. Enjoying life outside the work environment is as important as working on your career development because it all contributes to the whole person. A healthy work-life balance promotes good mental health, which everybody needs to cope with stressful situations.

I work as part of a team, and we all work together to achieve "the goal." The team's behavior is to strive to learn new skills and knowledge and share them to ultimately work smarter. In the team, we openly praise the individual for a job well done, or if mistakes have been made, we try to understand "the why" behind them and learn from them for next time.

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