#IWD, #IWD2022, BreakTheBias, ED&I, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, International Women's Day, Women's History Month

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year’s theme, #BreaktheBias, we are featuring stories from our ED&I leaders across the globe from March 1 – 8. Learn more about how AECOM is breaking the bias for our employees and communities.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions — all day, every day and everywhere. We all need to make efforts to break any forms of bias.

AECOM has expanded through organic and inorganic growth over the years and one of our success areas has been growing into a mature global company that demonstrates genuine commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I).

As a regional human resources leader, I have the opportunity to work with women leaders from different countries and with diverse cultural backgrounds. Irrespective of our geographical time zones, we are all working toward a common goal. We cross virtual boundaries and embrace diversity to create an equal platform for every team member to exchange ideas and best practices in the region. Thanks to this experience, I firmly believe that ED&I is a key driver of innovation as it fosters engagement and knowledge sharing among team members with diverse backgrounds and supports the smooth implementation of global initiatives in each region.

Both AECOM Asia, and Asia as a region, have built solid foundations in ED&I and here is how we are breaking the bias and progressing further:

  • Taiwan is ranked No. 1 in Asia and No. 6 in the world in the 2021 Gender Inequality Index, as reported by the United Nations Development Programme. It is also the first Asian country to pass the same-sex marriage bill.
  • There are laws or guidelines on gender equality and/or equal pay in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China. In AECOM, we also hire employees with disabilities in these offices.
  • Over 16 percent of leadership roles are held by women based in our offices across Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Mainland China. 
  • In Mainland China, 54 percent of our workforce are women — the highest across AECOM.
  • We celebrate the diversity of cultures across Southeast Asia through various employee engagement activities.

To advance ED&I throughout Asia, we have set KPIs to improve the women leadership pipeline and talent diversity across the region. We are also launching various initiatives and activities to integrate ED&I into the recruitment process and onboarding programs. For example, we are launching a women mentoring program to support the development of our women employees in subregions, increasing their percentage in graduate recruitment and interview selections, and embedding trainings on unconscious bias in the onboarding program for new hires. We have also partnered with NGOs in various subregions to provide employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Our employee resource group for Asia, Connect, also plays an important role by organizing activities that encourage talent growth and industry engagements.

In Asia, women represent over 40 percent of employees at AECOM, which also represents a significant amount of contribution to the success of our business. 

This year, we plan to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) with a host of employee engagement activities such as quizzes, #BreakTheBias theme activities, panel discussions, and health and wellbeing talks throughout March. Various AECOM offices in Asia will have programs to engage everyone and to remind us of the importance of women equality, while fostering a strong culture of inclusion and allyship.

I look forward to celebrating IWD, to #BreakTheBias with all our colleagues across the world, and to make a difference, not just for one day, but every day!

Shirley Tan

Originally published Mar 8, 2022

Author: Shirley Tan

Shirley Tan is vice president, Human Resources, Asia and the chair of Asia ED&I steering council at AECOM