Wednesday 2 September 2020

Diversity is key for the net zero skills gap

Diversity is key for the net zero skills gap

Kelly Becker isn’t an engineer. She’s worked with charities.

She’s an American woman in charge of Schneider Electric’s entire operations in Ireland.

She drives a hybrid car and is happy to promote people into a role they may not think they can do.

Frankly does any of that fit with what we expect of the boss of a major energy and technology company? In her view, yes.

“Diversity brings more diversity in my experience.”

We are talking about the challenge of bringing new skills to tackle the net zero world of the future in terms of energy, environment and technology. Kelly acknowledges the whole sector has an issue of being too white and too male. But it is trying to change.

“I think quite frankly it’s having leaders like me. People who look different, think different,  have different backgrounds. You know I’m not an engineer and you know people find that really interesting.

“You’re in Schneider for how long and you’re running the engineering teams and you’re not an engineer? The point of that is to say people with different backgrounds can bring different thoughts.

“For me as a leader that’s a huge piece of what we are doing. Ultimately, I’m looking for the best talent I can find on the market regardless of gender and ethnicity and all that. However I got many opportunities because I looked different, I had a different background, I thought differently.

“And I like to give people opportunities along those lines and bringing new people into our industry.

And in terms of diversity of thought she believes that is even more important to the young people, the future generation who will.

“When you meet a lot of our grads from the UK or Ireland, many of them are very driven by the way that what they can do, helps the planet. So I think the talent we are recruiting now is really looking and making decisions in a far different way to when I came out of college and said ‘who’s going to pay me the most because of my loans.’

“It’s a very different mindset”

Watch her full interview where we look at the challenges facing companies in the net zero transition.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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