Lara Poloni talked to Middle East Consultant about tackling issues of gender diversity at AECOM


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AECOM CEO featured front cover of construction magazine

AECOM CEO featured front cover of construction magazine

AECOM CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Lara Poloni, features on the cover of construction magazine Middle East Consultant. Inside, she discusses promoting gender equality within AECOM

A woman to watch

Lara was previously Chief Executive of Australia-New Zealand but now is in charge of the second biggest region after the U.S. Leading AECOM’s 20,000-strong team across the UK, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Lara is working on a range of services to deliver solutions to some of society's most complex infrastructure challenges. Throughout a career spanning more than 25 years, she has had experience in the planning, assessment and development of major transport infrastructure, and worked across both public and private sectors to manage major projects from initial business case development and feasibility through to operations. 

Lara has been previously recognised by Construction News as one of the ‘15 people to watch in 2018’ in a new review of the construction industry.

Committed to gender equality in the industry

As AECOM’s first female Chief Executive, Lara is a well versed in the challenges faced by women trying to build a career in the infrastructure sector, but is confident in AECOM’s approach to workplace equality. During her career at AECOM, Lara has made it her goal to tackle gender inequality and diversity issues in the industry, for example, she spoke at Middle East Consultant's inaugural Women in Construction Event in Dubai to inspire an audience of female professionals. Lara spoke to Middle East Consultant about AECOM's efforts to promote gender equality in the workplace and in the industry as a whole.

"We absolutely have put [gender diversity] on the business agenda, just like we have with health and safety and CSR. It's got to be on the agenda if you want to have a vibrant and diverse business that encourages people to join and be on our projects with as diverse a perspective as possible," said Lara to Middle East Consultant.

"We know that one of the simple ways in which you create innovative outcomes is by bringing people together with different perspectives and experiences. So gender diversity is one aspect of that, as is cultural diversity. It's a journey but we have set ourselves some targets along the way."

"Our strategy is to have a 50/50 graduates intake. In the UK,we have about 150 STEM ambassadors that are going out to high schools to encourage girls about the benefits of a career in engineering. It's a great career path, so you've got to create that interest in the earliest stage and break down some of these barriers and the gender stereotypes," explains Lara.

"I think it's the obligation of leaders to make sure that we're doing everything that can be done at multiple levels in our organisation to make sure that we attract and retain the industry's best and brightest women," adds Lara.

Join talented women like Lara at AECOM

AECOM offers some fantastic career opportunities for ambitious women. Why not learn more about AECOM and its supportive and flexible working environment. As a global organisation which is experiencing significant growth, there's no better time to join AECOM than now

 

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