Sue begins by addressing her challenging start in the male-dominated construction industry. “I was pretty much the only woman on construction sites in my first job as a landscape architect on what was the largest onshore oil field in Western Europe,” she says. She then describes the walls of site huts as adorned with “bikini-clad girls” and recalls that she “would regularly turn up to meetings with 20 or so people, all of them men, and be expected to take minutes and pour the tea. I used to laugh it off, but it took me a while to find the confidence to say no.”
Given that just a few years later Sue became co-founder of RSK such an anecdote is almost laughable. As Sue acknowledges in the article, the industry’s attitude towards women has rapidly changed since her career began over 25 years ago. Her answer to the reason behind this, however, is perhaps given more in hope than belief: “hopefully because the industry has grown up and recognised the need for more technical specialists whatever their gender, but also because HR departments would not tolerate it.”
Sue is quick to highlight RSK’s refreshingly positive approach to women in the workplace, “Today, the proportion of female staff is a third: roughly the same as it was when I joined 23 years ago. That percentage is the same for those classified as senior and above, and 25% at board level. We took the decision early on to send female engineers to the Middle East, and a woman runs our operations in Saudi Arabia, working from home as she raises a family.” She concludes, “I am proud of RSK's track record in recruiting and retaining women.”
Sue also supports several industry initiatives, including Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), which some of RSK’s energy clients, such as Shell, also support.
For more information, please contact Sue Sljivic.