Female engineer wearing PPE holding National Grid high-voltage power cables

Women must be part of engineering a better future

This week, International Women in Engineering Day recognises the huge contribution women have made to engineering and highlights the career opportunities it offers young women as we work to build a more sustainable future. Read more about our award-winning female engineers and how women will play a crucial role in our post COVID-19 economic recovery.

Research published by National Grid earlier this year showed that the UK’s energy sector will need to fill 400,000 jobs if it’s to meet its target to deliver net zero emissions by 2050. But the under-representation of women, who currently make up just 12% of the engineering workforce in the UK, means the sector is missing out on a full-strength gender balanced workforce. Our research showed that 83% of women want to help the UK reach its net zero target by 2050, so it’s critical that we break down barriers to ensure they can play their part.

Making sure that everyone can contribute to helping us both reach our net zero targets and rebuild economies across the world following the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic is vital – and that means encouraging more women to take up engineering.

We need female engineers to shape the future

We’re at a crucial stage in the journey. We need female engineers more than ever, as we believe that tackling climate change and achieving the UK’s net zero target needs to be at the heart of the economic recovery, to help us recover from the pandemic and pave the way forward.

For every schoolgirl who loves maths, to university students fascinated by technology and women who want to tackle the climate emergency, I want them to know that they can shape the world.

“On International Women in Engineering Day, I want to celebrate female engineering talent and encourage those who are interested to step forward”, says our UK Executive Director Nicola Shaw. “For every school girl that loves maths, to university students fascinated by technology and women who want to tackle the climate emergency, I want them to know that they can shape the world.”

Award winning female engineers

National Grid already has a wealth of female engineering talent, which is recognised externally with our engineer Senamiso Mathobela, a Delivery Manager at the National Control Centre in Warwick, being selected as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering by the Women’s Engineering Society. Long Term Strategy Manager Danielle Stewart was also selected as ‘Highly commended’ in this year’s awards.

On International Women in Engineering Day, we’re also making our own Female Engineer of the Year award and this year our winner is Jennifer Glenister, a Project Supervisor in Electricity Construction.

Dawn Childs, UK Change Director, who is one of the award’s judges says: “We had a really strong selection of entries this year and it was difficult to decide who the top three should be. We looked for their key achievements, how they go above and beyond, and, importantly, what they do with regard to sustainability; which is this year’s theme for International Women in Engineering Day. Jennifer stood out for the amount she did to nurture not only sustainability but also to inspire the potential engineers of the future.”

The success of our female engineers is due, in part, to our commitment to hire and promote more women across the business. Almost four out of ten graduate hires (37.5%) to National Grid are women and we have seen a year-on-year increase in women in leadership roles, with almost a third of senior roles in the UK held by women.

Supporting women in engineering

While we’re proud of the female engineers who are already helping us to build a better future, we’re also committed to encouraging more women to join us and supporting their success by providing a number of initiatives to improve gender balance in engineering, including:

  • flexible and agile working patterns across the business 

  • making our recruitment processes as accessible as possible

  • global unconscious bias e-learning, to embed sustainable change in our leadership behaviours 

  • mentoring programmes, including a reverse mentoring scheme for executives and senior managers

  • training and development programmes specifically designed for women at the early stages of their career

  • working with external partners, such as the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), which actively campaigns to encourage women to participate and achieve as engineers, scientists and leaders

  • working with POWERful Women and Energy Leaders Coalition, to break down barriers and share best practice, with the aim of increasing the number of women at senior levels and middle management in the UK’s energy industry.

Young woman working on wind turbine prototype used for National Grid INWED story

Discover inspiring stories from the women shaping the future of energy and engineering. Find out more about their ground breaking and award-winning careers and discover why it’s such an exciting time to be working in the energy sector as we transition to a net zero future.

Meet our Women with energy