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.
We’ve identified five key focus areas and are committed to:
- Removing barriers by working with target communities to attract a more diverse workforce
- Taking positive action by evolving how we recruit employees
- Providing support for all employees to ensure they feel valued and included regardless of their gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation or social background
- Developing our leaders, managers and employees to raise the importance of inclusion within our workplace
- Providing flexible working opportunities so that current and future employees can control their work-life balance
We also provide recruitment training for colleagues with hiring responsibilities. This also focuses on identifying and tackling unconscious bias, to ensure appointments are made on merit alone and are free from prejudice.
Our induction process for new starters includes a dedicated module on diversity and inclusion and esteem in the workplace, and our employee-led diversity networks promote a tolerant and enlightened outlook.
Workplace training is also given to managers to help them recognise and manage any instances of bullying, harassment or victimisation.
We demonstrate a commitment to tackling gender bias and driving down the gender pay gap. You can find our Gender Pay Report here.
In 2018, around a quarter (23 per cent) of our apprentices were female in 2018, with nearly triple the number of female apprentices than in 2014. This is significantly higher than the five to seven per cent average as estimated by the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies.
As a member of the 30per cent Club, we have publicly indicated our support for females holding at least 30per cent of board positions, and we are on track to achieve our target.
Our commitment to the Human Rights Act can also be found in our Annual Report.
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