Compiled by Sharyn Macnamara
The IEA (International Energy Agency) points out that the energy sector remains one of the least gender diverse sectors globally.1 On a Local level, Hitachi Energy is championing a ‘Diversity 360’ vision with the goal of increasing its female diversity from 19% to 25% by 2025.
Despite making up 39% of the global labour force – women only account for 22% of the traditional energy sector. With women as key drivers of innovative and inclusive solutions, closing the gender gap is critical, says the IEA.2 Hitachi aims to do just that with its ‘Diversity 360’ approach, which is employee-centred and was designed to nurture diversity of thought and embrace the power of connections to foster innovation for customers and partners, and as such impact the company’s long-term business success.
In August 2022, during Women’s Month in South Africa, Hitachi celebrated the achievements of three of its employees to highlight some of the female talent at the company currently. The ‘Diversity 360’ vision is integrated into all of the company’s practices and policies fostering female acceleration through global platforms and its Female Talent Development Programme, which is underpinned by leadership pillars, in order to reach clear recruitment targets and to develop women in leadership roles.
Leading by example
Tracy Golovey, country HR Manager: Southern Africa, works with the company’s business leaders as a core member of the management team. She leads a lean team locally, collaborating with regional and global teams closely to solve challenges. Golovey noted, “It has been empowering to be given the trust to take on elevated responsibility within the HR function.”
Golovey has a degree in Human Resources and has completed a management advancement programme at the Wits Business School and an internal management leadership programme. She was instrumental in implementing local women in leadership development programmes at the company. These programmes are making a significant impact in the business.
“We are aware that while progress is being made on gender diversity, transformation will not take place overnight, nor is it a short-term journey. I spearheaded this initiative in close collaboration with our local learning and development partner and with our country managing director’s sponsorship. The aim was to speed up change and to create a platform with an immediate impact on our women in the workplace. We have been proactive and have started looking to put together impactful learning programmes in partnership with well-known business schools to address gaps and to empower and upskill women at both junior and senior levels within the organisation,” says Golovey.
She explains that, in order to be more inclusive, there are two programmes that the company offers, one aimed at junior and supervisory levels and a second that focuses on next levels of management. Female participants are selected from the company’s workforce every year to participate. The ultimate goal is to have all female employees benefit from this offering. There is a specific focus on the challenges faced by women in leadership. The programmes aim to optimise career impact by exploring the dynamics faced and overcoming barriers specific to women in the business. “The initiative allows women to apply their personalised leadership, to harness their diverse skill set with greater impact, and to boost their professional voice to meet professional goals with greater ease and authenticity,” notes Golovey.
The challenge was to implement these programmes on a small scale and within a reasonable budget. It was also about ensuring that the programmes are realistic, lead to real change and empowerment of women and are fit for purpose to deliver the desired outcomes.
“We are excited that, despite the challenges, we were ready for take-off and 2022 has now been the second year that female employees have been able to benefit from the initiative. Our women in the workplace are eager to learn and attend these programmes, once selected to participate. The programmes are reviewed bi-annually to keep up with any new developments or trends in line with the scope and outcomes.”
Golovey noted that the Diversity 360 approach is a positive step in the right direction of a long-term journey and shows the company’s commitment to transformation.
Developing women in leadership roles
Claire Mandy Koegelenberg started out as a production planner for traction transformers where she assisted in achieving a notable safety record in a project building and delivering 150 units with zero recorded incidents. It was Koegelenberg’s duty to ensure that the transformers were built in time and that the correct stock was available to complete the project.
She explains, “In transformer manufacturing one deals with heavy, hot, and sharp raw materials and components. We use powerful rotating machines and heavy objects are constantly being moved through the production line by means of overhead cranes and equipment movers. An accident could occur at any moment if the team is not focused and disciplined enough to follow safe working instruction and regulations.
“As a production scheduler, my role did not put me directly into the same risk category as the machine operators, assemblers or testing teams. However, as I engaged daily with production teams on the shop floor, I was trained and equipped to identify, understand, and manage the risks inherent in a production environment. I was empowered to ensure the safety of all personnel in our workspace.”
Koegelenberg commenced her electromechanical studies in 2010 and then moved to Supply Chain Management, as a buyer/expeditor where she now has over ten years of field experience. “Having been here for a decade, I can honestly say we are becoming more inclusive. I can actively see more women being hired within various business areas –including the engineering side.”
Koegelenberg is a member of the Employment Equity and Skills Development Committee at Hitachi Energy and adds that clear goals have been set in this regard.
Mentorship is key
Tshegofatso Monnamme is a tender and quotation specialist for high voltage (HV) products. She works closely with the factories that manufacture HV equipment in compiling tenders and ensuring all customer requirements are met.
With a national diploma in Electrical Engineering (Heavy Current) from the Vaal University of Technology and a BTech from the University of Johannesburg, she started working at Hitachi Energy in 2020 as a trainee engineer and was appointed permanently in October 2021.
Monnamme paid special tribute to her manager Confidence Mabulwana for his exemplary leadership saying, “Mr Mabulwana is not just a manager, he is an inspirational mentor too. He is incredibly supportive of the team and encourages us to become the best version of ourselves.”
Currently at the entry level of her career, Monnamme is focused on learning more about her job and exploring the technical side of it. She notes however, “Long term I would like to branch into project management. To get there I believe it will take perseverance, hard work and further study.’’
She adds, “Hitachi has significantly changed the narrative by empowering females and developing women in leadership roles.”
The company is continuously developing employees to further advance their professional skills and knowledge, creating experts and leaders, resulting in high-quality products, systems, and services to customers and economic, environmental, and social value for a sustainable energy future. An inclusive culture powered by individual differences, collaboration, and diversity of thought is core to this drive.
- https://www.iea.org/topics/energy-and-genderEnergy and gender
- Despite making up 39% of global labour force – women only account for 22% of the traditional energy sector.
- In line with previous studies, we find significantly fewer women working in the energy sector compared to men. In relative terms the gap is more than twice as large as it is the case of the non-energy sector. In addition, we see that wages for female employees are almost 20% lower than for male employees, with the gap being somewhat greater than in non-energy firms. (https://www.iea.org/topics/energy-and-gender)