Diversity and Inclusion

At United Utilities, we really value diversity. Our Diversity and Inclusion agenda underpins all aspects of the organisation and we’re committed to providing a supportive and inclusive working environment for all of our colleagues.

We need fantastic people to enable us to deliver the best public service. To do this, we make sure we are reaching and recruiting from every community. We also ensure that our employees can reach their full potential, by making them feel valued and included regardless of their gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation or social background. 

Traditionally, the utilities sector is male dominated. Therefore we recognise the need to attract diverse and talented individuals with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Having a focused approach to improving the diversity of our workforce will play a key role in ensuring we have the skills required to drive the business forward.

Diversity of thought is becoming increasingly important, and we understand the huge business benefits it brings. We want our people to bring fresh ideas and really drive innovation forward during our next regulatory period. 

To support and be truly inclusive for our employees we seek to adapt and offer a range of options to help people balance their home and work life including:

  • Flexible working arrangements to support part time working and hybrid working, where possible
  • Access on a number of our sites and offices to a range of facilities to support our employees with individual needs and requirements such as prayer rooms and breast feeding facilities

Multicultural Event

Our commitment to fostering inclusivity for all

We have a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination or harassment – this type of behaviour has no place in UU for our employees and those who work on our behalf.

To support our approach we have put in place a number of measures described below:

  • We seek to create a workplace culture where employees feel safe and valued and can be who they are, with a focused approach to diversity and inclusion for all
  • We have strong policies against sexual, racial, and any other forms of harassment and discrimination, developed in partnership with our trade union colleagues
  • We strongly encourage employees to report concerns about any such behaviour through a number of informal and formal channels including esteem in the workplace, grievance and confidential whistleblowing policies
  • Any form of harassment or discrimination will be treated very seriously, whether intentional or not and would result in disciplinary action if founded
  • We have substantial training programs to educate our employees about our policies and procedures, with a key focus on the supporting role of the line manager
  • We provide support for all employees dealing with any issues of harassment or discrimination with access to a comprehensive employee assistance programme

Our Workforce Profile

Breakdown Share in total workforce (as % of total workforce)
White 89%
Ethnic Minority Background 3%
Not disclosed 8%


Diversity Indicator Percentage (0 - 100 %)
Share of women in total workforce (as % of total workforce) Public reporting available: 35%

In our 2021/22 intake, over a third (37%) of our apprentices were female, with over double the number of female apprentices than in 2014. This is significantly higher than compared to the UK average of 24% for females in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) roles.

We have strong female role models succeeding at all levels of the organisation, including on our board, in our executive leadership team and in key operational roles. In 2021/22, 35% of our board and executive team were female.

Our commitment to the Human Rights Act can also be found in our Annual Report.

Manchester Pride

Career progress is also supported via employee networks, representing certain groups of employees that may face specific challenges. Each of these internal networks is overseen by a senior leader and sponsor. They include:

  • Ability Network – providing support and guidance to employees who have disabilities or long term health conditions
  • Gender Equality network (GENEq) – aims to support, mentor, develop, inspire and promote the benefits of gender equality across our organisation
  • Armed Forces network – supporting employees and their families who are ex-armed forces
  • Multi-cultural network – celebrating people from all faiths, cultures, religions and backgrounds
  • Identity network (LGBTq) – supporting all employees regardless of their sexual orientation

At the Inclusive Awards 2022 we were delighted to win the Inclusive Culture Initiative Award for our ‘Better Together’ campaign (see the video below for more about Better Together), and to be ranked 11th on the 2022/2023 Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers list.

Diversity and inclusion

Watch the video to hear from our employees on the progress we’ve made so far since we launched our Better Together campaign.

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