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Diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunities: cultivating a better future for wind power

By Marta Jimeno

Diversity is an integral part of life and crucial for any business. It enriches and develops a company's breadth of experience and knowledge. Yet, it is even more critical for an industry heavily based upon innovation—an industry that holds within it the hopes of building a better future, like the wind power industry.

We draw strength from our differences. By embracing diversity across all spectrums, Siemens Gamesa is a stronger company which, in turn, helps advance innovation. The wind power industry should work towards forming a workforce that represents our diverse society including, but not limited to, people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, genders and disabilities. This way, we can meet our aspirations to create a greener future and a fairer and more inclusive society.

It has been proven that companies with a diverse workforce perform better. A report by IRENA shows that there is a significant gender imbalance globally within our industry. Based on 144 countries, the report indicates that the renewable energy sector is currently made up of only 32 percent women, which means the overwhelming majority of employees are men. This serves as proof that the industry still has work to do in creating more gender-balance.

While the renewable energy industry is more balanced gender-wise than the energy sector as a whole, in which female employment is at an incredibly low 22 percent, there is still a significant gender gap. Additionally, it is in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs within the industry that women are most dramatically underrepresented, as only 28 percent of STEM jobs within the renewable sector are occupied by women.

As our industry is rapidly expanding, IRENA predicts that jobs could as much as triple over the next 30 years. So, now is the time to act. We must embrace diversity, build inclusive work environments and create equal opportunities for all within our industry.

At Siemens Gamesa, we have implemented our new Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy to drive us towards achieving our mission of "Embracing diversity to become truly innovative and to benefit from the different mindsets of our diverse workforce; Advance our culture of inclusion and belonging; and build the work environment for the future by providing equal opportunities to everyone."

Equal opportunities extend to everyone, but we are especially focused on members of groups that are currently underrepresented and who are traditionally disadvantaged in the workplace. Therefore, we have set ambitious and aspirational gender targets to help bridge the gender gap. We work towards promoting the professional development of women who work in wind power. We are also dedicated to fostering an inclusive company culture that welcomes different perspectives and ensures that everyone feels included and valued.

Alongside our D&I strategy and our commitment to achieving gender equality, we have also developed an ambitious action plan. This plan is intended as a roadmap to help us achieve our goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in which every individual has a full sense of belonging within our organization and feels empowered to express themselves. Over the next two years, we aim to improve our recruitment and hiring practices to welcome diverse talent through fair candidate attraction and a more inclusive recruitment process. Thus, we can widen and improve our talent pipeline.

Furthermore, our strategy also includes inclusive leadership training to be rolled out in 2021 as our leaders play a key role in driving the cultural change that is needed to create real equality and inclusion at Siemens Gamesa.

We also support Smart Working, enabling our employees with family responsibilities to better reconcile professional and family commitments, and therefore to engage and advance in employment on equal terms. To further expand the diversity and inclusion efforts, we are taking the necessary measures to create an environment that is favourable to the selection, promotion and career development of everyone on equal terms, and where everyone feels included and valued.

While we are an industry that holds diversity close to our core, there is a lot more work to be done. Our industry is intertwined with innovation and building a brighter future.

Therefore, the most important way to progress and accurately reflect society is to have a workforce that is broadly representative of the local communities where the company operates which entails not only the creation of opportunities under which underrepresented groups can participate on equal terms, but also action specifically aimed at increasing their presence at all levels.

To maximize innovation in our industry, we need to include people from all walks of life to add perspective and depth to our knowledge. The more diverse the team, the more dynamic, effective and innovative our ideas and goals will become. Diversity is an essential part of the future of this industry and society in general, and we must act now to ensure that we embrace and embody it.

Marta Jimeno is Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, at Siemens Gamesa (www.siemensgamesa.com).