At NES, we support gender diversity in the workplace and we’re committed to helping increase job opportunities for women. Our aim is to build upon existing diversity in the industries we work within and to do so; we’re celebrating diversity by exploring the stories of some of our female engineers. We spoke to Rose Button, a Process Engineer within the Life Sciences Industry based in the UK. 

1. Has the life science industry changed over the years?

Having worked in the Life Sciences industry for 20 years I have witnessed significant technological developments in the sector. Engineering design processes are much more traceable and now use efficient electronic tools. Documentation is becoming more accountable due to the continued increase in regulations, particularly within pharmaceuticals. The job has never really been 9-5 and demands are increasing!

2. What's been your biggest challenge?

Definitely maintaining a work-life balance. Alongside my pharmaceuticals career I have 2 businesses in Africa, and family who live in New Zealand, so I need to travel a lot. It’s a bit of a juggling act! I often look for short-term contracts because this suits my busy lifestyle much more – however if I like somewhere I’m often able to extend the contract.

3. Would you reccomend your career chouce to other women? 

Absolutely, I have never personally experienced prejudice in the industry. In fact, when I was a student doing work experience at a water waste treatment plant, the manager employed another woman so we had support. They recognised that being the only female in a close knit workshop environment could have been a barrier for me to integrate with the team, and wanted to avoid putting me in a potentially uncomfortable situation. We smashed it and they were great fun!

Process engineering is so diverse in its nature that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to develop their skills, men and women, to discover something that they really enjoy. I think that there’s a misconception about engineering – it’s not all hard hats and rubber boots, there’s a lot of interaction with different people and problem solving. It’s a really fun atmosphere!

4. What can companies do to improve opportunies for women in life sciences? 

I genuinely believe that different roles attract different personalities, but for me it’s all about flexibility. My business and family life mean that I need the capacity to work remotely, and not all employers accept this way of working.

However, alongside offering flexibility, employers need to ensure that this culture is respected and understood. I’ve worked in companies where employers have structured the office hours for individuals’ to work around childcare and holidays, which was great. And I have worked for companies that don’t and colleagues comment that they are ‘part time’ for leaving the office after 7 hours instead of 8 hours.

Finally I think there’s scope for companies to improve communications regarding careers that are available in their offices as it is never a one size fits all for the role. It is great to be able to understand the diversity of the roles available.

5. How have you found support from NES?

Excellent. I’ve worked with NES for over 10 years and they truly place emphasis on matching the person to the role; they look at your personality and only suggest roles that they believe are compatible. They don’t try to just fill a placement so that they can tick a box. They really listen and there is no hassle. The paperwork is smooth and contact with my consultant is just so easy – nothing is inconvenient.

NES and Diversity 

With over 60 offices around the globe, NES has a diverse workforce and we recognise, respect and value the diverse nature of the wider society in which we operate. We are proud to partner with APSCO’s “Women in recruitment” action group and have committed to their Gender Equality Charter; we are a member of Pink Petro - an organisation dedicated to connecting and advancing women in Energy and last year we conducted a survey in partnership with Energy Jobline that asked over 1000 female engineers how they feel about working in the industry.

We are committed to increasing job opportunities for women and helping client to meet their diversity goals. If you're an employer looking for assistance with your staffing requirements, please contact us

Looking for our previous editions? Read our interviews with Brenda MulrooneyNatasche CronjeLexi Meeke, and Victoria Whol,.