Energy and utility giants announce diversity pact

CEOs from 32 of the UK’s leading energy and utility companies have launched a long-term ‘Inclusion Commitment’ to attract more diverse talent to an industry dominated by white and male workers.

E.ON, National Grid and Thames Water are among the firms to sign up, recognising that their employees fail to reflect the 65 million people they serve.

The Energy and Utility Skills Group, which convened the partnering companies, revealed that 83% of the sector’s workforce is currently male – far more than the 47% found across all other industries. Just 5% are from the BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) community, compared with the national average of 11%, while the under-24s have also traditionally been underrepresented.

The commitment could not come at a better time, with the energy and utilities sector expected to need more than 221,000 new recruits to fill its projected 2027 skills gap.

“This new commitment starts collective action to help the workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams,” said Energy and Utility Skills Group chief executive Nick Ellins.

The companies involved will actively target certain employees to boost gender, BAME and disability workforce representation, and have pledged to measure progress in a transparent way.

The Inclusion Commitment also includes an agreement between the firms to collaborate and challenge each other by sharing best practice and developing sector priorities.

An example of the work done by Thames Water to improve BAME representation includes its ‘Mentoring Circles’ events, which were launched in 2017.

These offer face-to-face support, advice and guidance to those in attendance, along with workshops on CV writing and interview skills, with dozens of jobseekers subsequently finding employment in the sector.

Thames Water CEO Steve Robertson said: “Supporting diversity and inclusion is not just something that’s clearly the right thing to do, but is vital to ensure the best available talent contributes to our business, and that we reflect the communities we serve.”

Find out more about the Inclusion Commitment at here.

Image credit | iStock
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