Balance for Better – International Womens Day

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

There is a clear move towards embracing inclusion and demolishing stereotypes in the industry. We need people from different personal and professional backgrounds, bringing new and innovative ideas. With the skills shortage at a high, we’re in no position to be looking at anything other than level of skill and potential when recruiting workers.

According to the UK Industry Performance Report, 2017 by Glenigan, only 12% of the industry’s workforce is female, compared to 47% for all sectors nationally. Compared to national averages, women, people with disabilities, the BAME community and those under 24 are under-represented in the construction industry.

To act on this information and their own research, CEOs from 32 of the country’s leading energy and utilities employers have signed up to an industry-wide commitment to attract more diverse and inclusive talent. Amey, Balfour Beatty, Clancy Docwra, Keltbray, Kier and Morrison Utilities and many more have committed to proactively change these statistics and promote their businesses to under-represented talent. Through its work, the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership and its CEOs will highlight the great work already being done by the sector as well as continuing to drive change through its ongoing commitment to inclusive attraction, recruitment, and development of its workforce. The new agreement is underpinned by five principles that commit to working collaboratively and sharing best practice, while creating an inclusive culture that enables firms to attract, recruit and develop people in a way where progress can be measured and transparent.

Employing around 566,000 people across the UK, the utilities sector will need over 220,000 new recruits to fill its expected skills gap by 2027. The future is exciting – and we are the people privileged enough to build it. I think we can all agree that the best way to do that is with a gender-balanced workforce.

CENE are holding an International Women’s Day, Better for Balance event on Thursday 7 March – a follow up to last year’s Press for Progress event. Join us for an interactive morning, hearing from Eliane Algaard, Northumbrian Water, Owen Goodhead and Sarah Sidey, Ranstad CPE, Kieran Thompson, Cundall and Lily Kitchen from Network Rail who are driving change in the industry. We will look at how you can initiate and support change, meet other people with the same aspirations and hear from organisations already working on their diversity and inclusion strategies. Everyone has a part to play in creating change, so we need men and women to join us to and find out what you can do to help.

If you would like to register for this event, please contact Grace Collinson on 0191 500 7880 or grace@cene.org.uk