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BT woos female telecoms engineers

Openreach has launched a major drive to attract more women into its engineering roles, saying perception of the telecoms-engineering culture needs to change

Too few women are being tempted into becoming telecoms engineers, according to BT’s network arm, Openreach.

The company is set to address this problem with a major initiative called Open2all, launched on Tuesday.

Open2all will use tailored advertisements to attract more female applicants into engineering roles and will seek to alter "the currently perceived male-dominated environment synonymous with engineering", as well as explore more flexible working practices.

One way the programme intends to do this is by highlighting the success of existing female engineers, such as Liverpool engineer Alison Jones, quoted by the company as saying: "I love my job with Openreach, but there is still a long way to go to convince women that this career choice is open to them.

"The work is obviously technical, but full training is provided in your first weeks on the job. The job is full of challenges — working in field service fully utilises your people and problem-solving skills and this is why I find it so rewarding."

A spokeswoman for Openreach told ZDNet UK that the largest challenge for the company’s new recruitment drive was that "engineering is regarded as a career that is male dominated".

"There is however a business case for attracting women into engineering roles because of [such things as] the impact on innovation," she said on Tuesday.

Openreach’s executive committee is already 40 percent female, and Andrew Jones, the company’s managing director, said on Tuesday that the company is "keen to replicate this success in our engineering community".

A report by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) last year claimed that long hours and a macho culture were driving women out of IT, but a survey soon after found that female IT managers had overtaken their male counterparts in the pay stakes.