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Celebrating women engineers: An interview with Anshita Sharma

From choosing a career in engineering, to tackling the challenges that women face throughout their working lives – Anshita Sharma, BIM Lead, talks to us about her experiences, what inspires her and how organisations can eliminate gender disparity within the workplace.

Tell us a little bit about why you chose engineering?
As a child studying in India, I found that career choices could be quite limiting and you’re not exposed to that many options. One thing I loved however was maths. I was one of those kids that thought complex variables were cool! So finding a field that allowed me to grow, to work with intelligent people – and get paid for doing something I was passionate about, really excited me. That’s how engineering became my natural choice and why architecture appealed to me. It’s not often someone can say they work in a field that they were passionate about as a child – I’m lucky that I can.

What’s it like to work at Atkins?
Apart from the job itself, one factor that significantly influences how employees feel about work, is the environment – everything that forms part of an employee’s experience at the workplace. This includes professional relationships with colleagues and supervisors, the organisational culture, room for personal development and other aspects that add to your enjoyment of the job. I’m a firm believer that if work isn’t fun, you’re not playing on the right team. Luckily, I love my team and everything about my professional life.

What the main thing about working at Atkins that you love?
Atkins is great because they give me a voice. My seniors listen to my ideas and the whole team works together to make things happen. We all support each other and offer constructive feedback. I really value the feeling of being appreciated, respected and listened to.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, the positive work environment is one of the major reasons I feel so great about coming to work. It really motivates me to look forward to the day ahead – I might actually be one of those rare people who look forward to waking up in the morning and going to the office.

Could you tell us about the challenges that women face in their careers?
It’s a fact that working women deal with tremendous challenges to develop a career as strong as their male counterparts, whilst also being expected to efficiently manage their personal obligations and commitments. This seems to be a recurring challenge that many women face, and something that I feel is slowly being addressed.

How do you think Atkins is addressing these challenges?
These days, it’s not uncommon to see a couples in a relationship having their own career. This can often lead to work / life conflicts that need to balanced. It’s not just up to an organisation to provide this balance but for the individual to address that something needs to be done too. Atkins has so many systems and support processes in place to counter these problems. It’s a really forward thinking company that recognises and respects that people aren’t just about career.

Working at other firms, I’ve personally experienced prospective woman candidates be rejected for a role, purely on the grounds that she may not be able to work late – and, as a result, a male candidate being chosen instead. Atkins, is one company which not only opposes this narrow minded mentality, but also promotes intuitive options for us to consciously fight gender biases in the workplace. And that’s why I highly recommend this company to all my female counterparts across this business.