AECOM is a multinational engineering firm with 87,500 employees globally, and 7,000 in the UK&I, whose ability to create innovative solutions depends on the attraction and development of diverse teams.

Gender diversity in particular is a massive challenge facing the industry, however, leading to the development of a D&I strategy with this as its first focus. External research highlighted the most effective types of interventions, and a mapping exercise explored how a more diverse workforce could drive specific areas of AECOM’s business and talent strategy and unlock innovation.

"The ability to create innovative solutions depends on the attraction and development of diverse teams"

To help progress the next generation of female talent, AECOM’s UK&I mCircles programme was established: a group mentoring scheme designed to build female employees’ confidence and collaboratively address the challenges they faced within AECOM and the industry. To build a crucial narrative around inclusion, communications emphasised the importance of every voice being heard, and International Women’s Day was used as a platform to engage people.

A series of short interviews were launched as part of the #BeBoldforChange campaign, where leaders articulated their support for ‘10 everyday inclusive behaviours’, and employees were invited to commit to at least one. A Reverse Mentoring programme now allows leaders an insight into what AECOM is like from different employee perspectives, and unconscious bias is being tackled through training and the introduction of new interview techniques.

Due to a focused approach globally, female leaders have increased by nearly 30% since 2014. In 2017, 34% of all UK&I new hires were female; double the industry average. According to the engagement survey measurement of inclusivity, 90% now agree their environment is accepting of cultural and lifestyle differences and 79% agree that managers demonstrating diversity is important to business success. AECOM has set the foundation for a meritocracy where innovation is the norm; positively impacted by engagement. It is starting to see how these changes will enable them to serve their clients better.