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Engineering Week 2020: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering

Engineering Week 2020: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering

A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes? The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016. If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%. One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers. Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up! Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith Clarke First Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years. Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE. Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame Two of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola Tesla The famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator. Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls. Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim. Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory. So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers? Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren Roebling Contributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself. She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave Eiffel Most famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct. The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument. Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal. Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th Symphony The Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world? Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie Kwolek Offered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement. She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers. Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables. She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John Bardeen Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age. In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century. Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II. Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million. With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair. Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy Lamarr An Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah. With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions. In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star. She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon Musk The South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million. Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars. He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world. Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world? Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann Kelleher Born in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC. She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant. She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president. In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla. She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve Wozniak Electronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution. After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller. He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos. In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History. As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees. Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.

How To Beat The January Blues

How To Beat The January Blues

Here are small, yet effective, measures you can take to improve your wellbeing in the workplace that can spread into your personal life in a positive, affirming way. Work/Life Balance Sir Ken Robinson noted in his keynote speech at Talent Summit 2018 that, although the invention of emails was promised to save us time, we have since found that, if anything, we are less and less able to leave work behind in the workplace. It is now part of most people’s routines to check their phones first thing in the morning and reply to work-related emails at all hours of the day, always thinking about what needs to be done. It’s important that you ‘work smart, not long.’ This means actively leaving work behind in the office, working efficiently during the day so you don’t feel compelled to continue with it after hours. If the quantity of work you are being expected to complete within working hours is too much to do so successfully, be sure to speak up and discuss the manageability of your workload with your supervisor. Communication is key – they’re going to keep piling on the work as long you stay quiet about how overwhelmed you are, so make sure you speak up and be heard before it becomes too much to handle. Employers won’t know where the pressure lies unless you tell them. If you’re unsure of how much your work life spills over into your personal life, why don’t you try keeping a log for a month? Jot down in a diary how many hours you work every day – not just when you’re sitting at your desk, but when you’re thinking about work at home, composing emails and returning calls out of hours. It may build a more objectively troubling picture than you can see currently from the inside. Make The Most Of Your Breaks Don’t be afraid to make the most of the breaks you are allotted at work. Once you’re on a roll, it’s tempting to power through lunchtime and eat at your desk, one eye always on your computer screen. Try and avoid doing this when you can. Take a walk, practise mindfulness or meditation, experience new places to eat, socialise with co-workers or friends who work nearby. “But I don’t have time to meditate!” I hear you exclaim. Yes, you do! ‘Meditation’ is not always synonymous with pulling on yoga pants, lighting up a stick of incense and adopting the lotus position. You can meditate absolutely anywhere – in a local park, at a café… even sitting at your desk! If you’re not confident leading your own meditation, you can find five-minute guided sessions free online, like this one here. There are also some great customisable apps you can get on your phone, such as Timer and Headspace. It is impossible to overvalue the importance of taking time to relax, clear your head and focus on your own wellbeing. You’ll find this re-energises you for the rest of the day, as well as provide an invaluable opportunity to assess your current state of mind and mentally address any emotional concerns or anxieties. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how easily solutions pop into your head when you take just a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Communication This one works both ways for employers as well as employees. Communication is the key to destigmatising conversations about mental health. In his TEDx talk on workplace mental health, Tom Oxley says ‘you don’t make people unwell by talking about mental health – you give them the opportunity to speak out sooner’. There’s a flawed unspoken terror that speaking out about mental illness will somehow worsen the problem, as if it’s contagious or seem as if you conjured it up into existence within your own mind. The reality is that many sufferers don’t feel able to speak up due to the prejudice surrounding mental health, and the fear that their workplace would not be supportive of them if they did so. The best way an employer can foster an atmosphere of positivity, health and wellbeing is to ensure that their workers know that they are free to talk openly about any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and won’t face indirect penalisation for doing so. The first reaction of many employers is to offer a struggling staff member limited time off to recover, then expect them to return to work and continue as usual. While time off may be a solution for some employees, bosses should also consider the advantages of offering flexible working hours to affected workers. Tom Oxley strongly advocates for good communication practices between employers and employees to ensure that no one ever feels alienated from their place of work, and that anxieties don’t build up over time into uncontrollable crises. In turn, employees should communicate to their employers about their feelings on mental health in the workplace, as far as they feel comfortable to do so. Being transparent about how you’re feeling and what you need from your job to help you recover will give your boss the tools to help you in the way that’s most beneficial for you. If you are worried that taking time off would only serve to isolate you from the company, voice that concern. Your employer should want to get the very best out of you – they hired you for a reason. It’s in their interest to give you the support you need. Create a Healthy Routine Studies have consistently proven a strong link between mental health and physical health, and specialists are adamant that one of the best ways to maintain good mental wellbeing is to look after your physical welfare. Your job can be intellectually demanding, with long hours and difficult tasks taking a toll on your mental health. Your job is also more than likely sedentary. Indeed, scientists have connected the rise in global obesity to the increasing number of jobs that don’t require any form of physical activity. It can be hard to find the time to exercise during a busy work week, but it’s important you look after your body – the injection of endorphins from exercising can only beneficially impact your mental wellbeing. Take a stroll during your lunchbreak, do 30 mins of yoga before work, or even try training for a half marathon over the course of a few months. The same can be said for your diet, avoid that pastry to go with your coffee and instead be sure to stock up your desk drawer with nutritious snacks rather than sugary ones, such as nuts, fruit and protein bars. Snacknation has published an extensive list of delicious office snack ideas if you’re dry on inspiration. These are just a few ways you can work to improve your mental wellbeing in the workplace, which will in turn hopefully boost your productivity, energy happiness and eliminate the possibility of coming down with the January blues. While mental health is something we can’t always necessarily control, we can impact the way in which we talk about it, breaking down the harmful social barriers that currently ruin constructive discussions on preventative measures.

How to Organise Yourself in 2020

How to Organise Yourself in 2020

A new year is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. Are you back in work this week with the best of intentions to start on the right foot, but you're finding it hard to get started? We have made a list of things to help you start your new year by being more organised and help you to have a very productive 2020. Start Your Day Right If you're overrun with many different tasks at the one time and find it difficult to know how to structure your day in the most productive way possible, don't worry, you're not alone. A simple solution is to try coming into work 10 - 15 minutes before you are due to start and use that time to make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need done on that day and during the week in a notebook or use an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking the time to do this in the morning before emails start flying in and your phone is going off will start you off on a productive path and it should help to keep you on that path throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need done in your day/week, the next step is to learn what tasks are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time first. A handy way to decide this is by using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. This short film about prioritising might inspire you... Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own, but every now and then when you see your to-do list is particularly long, sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or see if some deadlines can be adjusted. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you need some help to get something done. Being organised doesn't mean you must manage everything yourself, it's being able to look at your workload and know how it will be done and when it will be done. Being organised is a skill, but it is one we can all learn very easily. Setting aside time every day to get organised is half the battle. Why not start this year by settng your new years resolution to give yourself time every day to get organised and prioritise? You'll see it makes all the difference to your day!

Hoping To Get A New Job in 2020? Here Are 5 Tips To Help You With Your Search

Hoping To Get A New Job in 2020? Here Are 5 Tips To Help You With Your Search

Searching for jobs is a job in itself. It can be challenging and time consuming but there are ways of making this task a little easier. If you are planning on finding a new job, Sigmar Recruitment has devised a list of top 5 job searching tips to help you in your pursuit of the perfect job this new year. Get Employers to Come to You Uploading your CV online can increase your chances of being seen by employers. Most job searching websites like; Jobs.ie and Monster.ie allow job seekers to create an online profile using their CV content. This profile can then be viewed by potential employers. There is also an option, when you create your account, to highlight specific jobs and organisations you’re interested in and receive email notifications when positions become available. This is handy for any job seeker as it does the hard work for you and allows suitable job opportunities to come directly to you. Update your LinkedIn Profile The first thing you should do before applying for a job is ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your relevant work experience. Often employers will search for you online while reviewing your CV. It’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as it could be the reason you get called for an interview. Extra Tip: If you are unemployed and don’t have an issue with making your employment status public, you may want to update your LinkedIn profile headline to something like, “Currently seeking (insert type of role here) in (insert location here)”. This will let your network know that you are currently job seeking​ Target the Right Companies It’s important to know what type of company you are looking for. This all comes down to your personal preference. Knowing what you want will make it easier. Would you rather be; “a big fish in a little pond” or “a little fish in a big pond”? By eliminating the type of companies you don’t want in your search, you will narrow down the available jobs suited to you. Extra Tip: If you know of a company you think you would like to work for, search for reviews of the company online. Glassdoor.com lets you search millions of reviews of companies that are all posted anonymously by employees. This is a great way to get an honest appraisal of organisations you’re considering applying to. Network Use the contacts you have to enquire about available jobs and get the word out that you’re looking for a new position. Often jobs can be found through people we know so it’s a good idea to get in touch with any relevant contacts you may have. Building on your current network can also give you an advantage in your job search. Attending conferences and job expos are a great way to network and find out about career opportunities. Be Positive Finding the perfect job isn’t easy and may take time. As rejections start coming in, it’s important to always try to stay positive. It’s only natural for you to feel deflated when things aren’t going according to plan but try to use the rejection as a motivation to work harder. The right job is out there for you and you will find it if you stay persistent and optimistic. Don’t have the time to job search? If you find yourself not being able to find the time to search for jobs properly, you can contact us in Sigmar Recruitment. You can upload your details and CV to our website and create an online profile that will be accessed by our specialist recruitment consultants to review your details and contact you with potential job opportunities.

Galway Recruitment Team

Get in touch with one of our team of 10 experienced recruiters who can support you with your job hunt or help you find the perfect person for your team if you are hiring in the West of Ireland. 

DUBLIN

13 Hume St, Dublin D02 F861, Ireland.​

39 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin D02 ND61, Ireland (Sales, Multilingual, Supply Chain)

Tel: + 353 1 4744 600
Fax: + 353 1 4744 641

Email: info@sigmar.ie

CORK 

1 Georges Quay, Cork City, Cork T12 X0DX, Ireland

Tel: +353 21 431 5770
Fax: +353 21 431 6407

Email: cork@sigmar.ie

GALWAY

4th Floor, Dockgate, Dock Road,
Galway H91 PC04, Ireland.

Tel: + 353 91 563868

Email: galway@sigmar.ie

ATHLONE

14 Sean Costello Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 R970

Tel: 090 641 3973

Email: athlone@sigmar.ie

TRALEE

Liber House, Monavalley Business Park,
Tralee, Co. Kerry

Tel: + 353 (0)66 4012325

Email: kerry@sigmar.ie