Thirty-two of the country’s biggest energy and utilities employers have launched a sector Inclusion Commitment to attract more diverse and inclusive talent into the industry.
The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, led by sector employers, says it recognised in its Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy: 2020 that its current workforce fails to fully represent the 65 million people it serves every day.
83% of the sector’s workforce are male, compared to 47% for all sectors nationally. Women, people with disabilities, the BAME community and under 24s have traditionally been under-represented in the energy and utilities sector, compared to national averages.
To tackle this, the group have committed to driving change and work collaboratively to attract, recruit and retain a more diverse talent to the sector.
Employing around 566,000 people across the UK, the sector will need over 221,000 new recruits to fill its expected skills gap by 2027.
The groups says the commitment will challenge the sector to act and think differently and aims to inspire and connect with underrepresented groups, attracting new talent and ideas into the energy and utilities sector.
Government will invest more than £425bn over 600 major projects across the UK (to 2020/21 and beyond). Nearly half the projects in the pipeline are assigned to electricity, gas, water & sewerage and waste, making the energy and utilities sector the largest single contributor to government’s UK infrastructure strategy.
Nick Ellins, Chief Executive, Energy & Utility Skills Group said: “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. 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.”
Basil Scarsella, Chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership Council said: “The Inclusion Commitment is an opportunity for all of us in the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership to develop workforces that reflect the communities we all serve and tackle the challenge of increasing diversity head on. We are very keen to share best practice and drive change through proactive, transparent measures.”
Marguerite Ulrich, Chief Human Resources Officer, Veolia UK and Ireland said: “We welcome this new initiative and the opportunity to close the future skills gap. 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.”