The Nuclear Sector Needs A Gender Balance For It’s Resurgence

The nuclear sector needs a gender balance for it's resurgence

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The nuclear sector needs a gender balance for it's resurgence

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 months ago
  • Author: Rebecca Graves

Having been a predominately male orientated industry for decades the balance is slowly shifting, but more needs to be done to recruit women into nuclear – as NRL’s Egremont Director Rebecca Graves discussed with In-Cumbria business magazine.


The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day on 8th March is about inspiring inclusion, which couldn’t be more relevant within the UK nuclear sector. For director Rebecca Graves, who leads the Egremont branch of the technical and engineering recruitment business NRL, being a woman in nuclear felt somewhat lonely early on in her career.

Celebrating 16 years with the business in January, she’s seen a real drive in recent years to encourage more women into the nuclear sector which she finds personally rewarding, but warns organisations that there is still a long way to go.

“Targets set within the sector include women equating to 40% of the workforce by 2023 and 30% representation at senior management level – which is refreshing to see. Whilst many nuclear companies are well on the way to achieving this, there’s still a great deal of work that needs to be done across the supply chain.

When I compare today to my first few years with NRL, it’s certainly a different landscape now – and it’s something we’re passionate about, especially given the 71% gender split of women in our Egremont branch. When we’re working with clients, it’s crucial to us that we’re looking to draw up a diverse shortlist for their roles – but the work needs to start much earlier to ensure the talent is there. We can’t underestimate the importance of representation, spending time in our local schools and colleges to empower young women to study STEM and see a rewarding career in nuclear.”

Apprenticeships are just one mechanism that can be used to retrain and skill women to recruit them into the nuclear sector, as Rebecca reflects on National Apprenticeship Week 2024.

“What people may not necessary realise is that apprenticeships are open to everyone, not just school leavers – there’s no age limit. This means that businesses can utilise training such as this to recruit women of all ages into their workforce – providing on-the-job training to bridge the skills gap, whilst providing a structured training path to ensure there’s a clear career and salary progression to reward the side-step into a new sector.

For the nuclear supply chain to successfully achieve a gender balance however, it will take more than KPI targets and apprenticeships. There needs to be a complete cultural and practical shift, to ensure women are truly embraced, the work environment is supportive of them and people up and down the organisation display their passionate to welcome women into nuclear.”

Looking for support to build a more inclusive workforce, then get in touch with Rebecca on rgraves@nrl.co.uk

You can read the full February issue of In-Cumbria business magazine online.