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Inclusion Commitment: 32 energy firms promise more diverse workforce

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Women make up less than 20 per cent of the energy sector workforce

Women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities are still under-represented in the energy sector

CEOs from 32 of the UK’s leading energy and utility companies yesterday promised to take steps to attract a more diverse workforce, in a bid to introduce fresh skills and outlooks into an industry still largely dominated by white, male employees.

Some 83 per cent of those working in the energy and utilities sector are male, compared to 47 per cent for other sectors. Meanwhile, only five per cent of the sector’s employees are from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups, compared to 11 per cent nationally. 

The energy giants signed up to the Inclusion Commitment – which include a host of firms with sizeable clean technology and green infrastructure interests, such as Centrica, Veolia, National Grid, and ScottishPower – have promised to try harder to recruit more women, young people, and those from a black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

The initiative has been pioneered by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, an industry-led group established in 2016 to address the sector’s workforce needs.

“Through the inaugural skills strategy, led by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, the UK’s utilities and their contractors have set out their ambition to enhance the diversity of their workforces and be ever more inclusive,” said chief executive Nick Ellins. “This new commitment is a framework. It starts the collective action to help the sector workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams.”

Under the Commitment firms have committed to five principles, which include “working collaboratively to drive change”, taking “targeted sector action” to recruit a more diverse range of employees, measuring and reporting on progress at a company level, working to create an attractive company culture, and adopting more inclusive hiring practices.  

The commitment does not require firms to hit any hard targets for recruitment diversity.

“We welcome this new initiative and the opportunity to close the future skills gap,” said Marguerite Ulrich, chief human resources officer for Veolia UK and Ireland. “At Veolia we have been working towards an inclusive organisation by growing diverse teams and we see it as a business imperative. Studies have shown diversity of thought improves problem-solving, decision-making and even financial performance; we know that by leveraging our people’s differences we can drive innovative growth in our company and the industry.”

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Source: – Business Green
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