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Jacobs - The power of networks for diversity and development

Category: Diversity and inclusion networks, Employee Resource Group, Staff Network Groups, Inclusivity network, Cultural Identity

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Yung Lau talks about how networks at Jacobs help him and his colleagues reach their full potential within the company.

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“I have been with Jacobs for almost five years and in that time, I have been able to work across different business units. Currently, I am a Senior Strategic Consultant; put simply, that means I identify clients’ requirements and help put them on the roadmap to get to where they need to be.

In my time with Jacobs, I have been exposed to different industry sectors, including highways, rail and water. This has kept things interesting and it means I have a varied career path and development opportunities.

In addition to working in different markets, being involved in the employee networks at Jacobs has also helped my career and personal development. I am an ally to all eight of Jacobs’ networks and I am particularly involved with our Careers Network and OneWorld, which promotes inclusivity across all ethnicities and cultures.

OneWorld holds events where people from different backgrounds share their culture with their colleagues. For me, this was about sharing my experiences as a British-Chinese employee. I’ve never been to China and I’ve only been to Hong Kong twice, but it was empowering to share my experiences as someone with Chinese heritage who was born in the UK. As well as sharing my perspectives with my colleagues, I was able to think more about my own cultural identity.

It is so important to be able to bring your whole self to work – no matter who you are, it is important to feel included. For example, I was able to gain a better understanding of my Muslim colleagues when we learned more about Ramadan. I am in awe of my colleagues who can fast and still be productive at work. 

On a more sombre note, we have held OneWorld events where people have talked about their experiences with hate crimes. I am fortunate that this has never happened to me, but it has happened to a cousin of mine, and it doesn’t always involve physical or verbal attacks. It isn’t always easy to talk about these subjects, but they are important conversations to have with each other. If we gain more insights into the different cultures in our workplaces, we can all be more understanding and accommodating.  

Yung"The support I receive through my involvement in networks such as OneWorld cannot be overstated. A diverse, inclusive workplace is a productive, positive workplace – Jacobs definitely offers this to people from all walks of life and I am proud to be part of it."

Through the Careers Network, I was also able to make a difference during the pandemic, which was an incredibly difficult time for many people. Lockdown made it difficult to engage in physical events but we were able to take part in Enginuity, a global competition which aims to enhance employees’ communication and collaborative skills. As working in offices was not possible at the time, we put together multicultural teams which allowed people to network and grow their business connection. Jacobs has six teams in the competition finals this year!

During the pandemic, I was also involved in a Jacobs programme where we helped more than 50 families with tutoring, as part of a virtual STEAM initiative. At Jacobs, we use the term “STEAM” rather than “STEM”; we include ‘Arts’ in addition to science, technology, engineering and maths to highlight a broader, more inclusive range of interests. The programme involved primary and secondary students and it was incredibly rewarding to be able to help families who were struggling with homeschooling during lockdown. I was a teacher before I worked at Jacobs, so I was able to use my skills in that area to write the training programmes. At Jacobs, there are plenty of examples of people who have joined from different sectors – we welcome people with transferable skills who are looking for a change.

Jacobs’ networks help people become fully included and engaged employees who can grow their networks and discover new opportunities available within the company – with 55,000+ employees in more than 40 countries, the opportunities are endless! As well as supporting individuals’ career development, being a network member also provides opportunities to make a real difference in people’s lives.

I am living proof that being involved in networks is a great way to develop on a personal and professional level. Last year, I was honoured to be recognised for my achievements when I won three awards – the Young Professional, Future Face of Industry Award 2021, the Asian Business Chamber Outstanding Young Achiever 2021 Award and Future Faces Champion 2021, which recognises my community support work. I won a place on the Common Purpose Emerging Leaders programme, and I am able to participate in this with the support of Jacobs.

The support I receive through my involvement in networks such as OneWorld cannot be overstated. A diverse, inclusive workplace is a productive, positive workplace – Jacobs definitely offers this to people from all walks of life and I am proud to be part of it.

Yung smiling and holding an award

For further information on Jacobs’ Equity, Diversity and Inclusion programme and initiatives please click here.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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