An initial 12-month pilot will target up to 20 roles including civil engineering, environmental planning and acoustics.
The initiative will allow parents or grandparents to spend all 12 weeks of the school holidays caring for their children while receiving a monthly pro-rata salary. The aim is to encourage qualified engineers and scientists to return to an industry they may have left because it was impossible to balance work and primary care responsibilities. Aecom is working on the initiative with online jobs and careers site, flexcareers.
Aecom chief Executive for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Todd Battley said: “There is a significant pool of talent who have stepped away from our industry because they were unable to nurture their families and their careers at the same time. That no longer has to be the case. By working with FlexCareers, on what we believe to be an industry first, we will be able target an extensive network of parents and guardians who are seeking flexibility to manage childcare responsibilities. Roles will be advertised through the FlexCareers job board and our team will ensure the support is available to help parents transition back to the workplace.”
Natalie Goldman, chief executive officer of FlexCareers, said: “We are delighted to partner with Aecom on this innovative program. FlexCareers has more than 70,000 talented women in our network, many of whom have previously been unable to secure roles commensurate with their skills and experience, due to a lack of workplace flexibility. FlexCareers provides job seekers with transparency and the certainty that employers truly champion flexible working. We will be working closely with Aecom to ensure that all applicants for this programme are fully supported throughout the recruitment and return to work process.”
Leading the initiative for Aecom is ANZ human resources director Helen Fraser, who said: “I regularly speak with women who express the challenges they face during school holidays and there is no doubt that many women stop working because it is just too hard to manage the 12 weeks of school holidays per year.”
“This arrangement will take that worry away for people. Piloting the term-time contracts with up to 20 roles across Australia and New Zealand initially gives Aecom 12 months to test and refine it with our clients, our people and professional women who have not been actively looking for work in the infrastructure sector. We are confident that it will appeal to both men and women with caring responsibilities.”
The first 17 roles to be advertised externally will cover a broad spectrum of technical areas, including mechanical and electrical engineering, acoustics, environmental planning, civil engineering, geotechnical and chemical engineering. Existing employees will also be able to express their interest in changing their contracts to be part of the term time trial.