Finding gender balance: how Taylor Hopkinson delivered a diverse cross-sector candidate to a key leadership role

A key cross-sector hire for our client ORE Catapult highlights the increasing importance of gender balance and equality in renewables.

A graphic with an image of an offshore wind farm and the text: Bringing gender balance to the boardroom. Delivering diverse, cross-sector candidates to key renewables leadership roles.

The renewables sector is making slow but steady progress on increasing the diversity of voices within its boardrooms and senior management. Trade bodies, including RenewableUKScottish Renewables and Energy UK, are leading the way on championing gender balance and equality, but there is still much to be done. 

In the UK, the Offshore Wind Sector Deal agreed by Government and industry has taken steps to address this. It commits to increasing the proportion of women in the offshore wind sector from 16% in 2018 to at least a third by 2030. 

With an increasing number of renewables organisations looking to recruit more women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds into senior roles, the capabilities of specialist recruitment agencies like Taylor Hopkinson are becoming more and more valuable. 

Market intelligence

In late 2021, we were retained by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewables, to source a new Technical Director to join its Executive Management Team. The role required a highly regarded technology leader with experience leading diverse teams and delivering extensive technological and innovation development across complex organisations.  

Working across offshore wind, wave, tidal and new energy systems, the Catapult needed a versatile and innovative individual with strong management and academic experience. Diversity was also hugely important for this role, with the Catapult seeking to improve the gender balance on its senior leadership team. 

With a substantial bank of market intelligence from previous searches, we presented a shortlist of exceptional candidates meeting all the Catapult’s key touchpoints.

Addressing the gender balance

The process delivered Dr Cristina Garcia-Duffy, Head of Technology at the UK Aerospace Technology Institute, to the Catapult’s new Technical Director position. A recognised thought leader in aerospace, Dr Garcia-Duffy will take up the role in February 2022, working across the business to lead the strategic development of its technical capabilities. Dr Garcia-Duffy currently works to bring together industry and Government to reduce the environmental impact of aviation, as well as developing international relationships aimed at accelerating net zero aviation. 

“The quality of candidates selected for shortlist and the overall search process was excellent,” says Andrew Jamieson, Chief Executive at the Catapult. 

“In addition, addressing the gender balance in our senior team was key. We are excited to have Cristina join us at such a critical time as we continue to deliver extensive UK economic growth and employment from our world-leading renewables industries. Her extensive experience working at the forefront of the aerospace industry will bring new insight and fresh thinking to ORE Catapult, supporting our teams in the delivery of world-class engineering, and to our industry and academic partners as we collaboratively develop the next generation of renewable energy technologies.” 

“Bringing a cross-sector candidate into offshore renewables meant finding candidates with the right combination of core scientific competencies and experience driving research and technology roadmaps,” said our CEO Tom Hopkinson. 

“Not only is Dr Garcia-Duffy’s appointment a positive message on gender balance in industry, it brings fresh ideas around innovation from an aligned sector to drive down costs, supports further rollout of the technologies in the UK and abroad, and captures value for UK plc. 

“We’re really proud to have helped make a difference.” 

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