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Gender pay: progress continues

Posted on: 09/04/2019

While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people from Wrexham to Redruth. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it. And the only way we can deliver what our customers want and need is to put people at the heart of everything we do – be they colleagues or customers.

We’re incredibly proud to deliver an essential public service. But we know that we need to mirror the communities we serve. Historically, the gas industry has been a male dominated one, but we’re making good progress in promoting diversity. We’ve just reported on our Gender Pay figures for the second year, and are proud to be able to say that our gender pay gap is reducing – and remains lower than the national average.

Our mean gender pay gap is 8%, a reduction of 20% since 2017 – while our median gender pay gap is -8%, from -4% in 2017. These figures are driven by our structured, grade based approach to pay, built on clear job profiles, and the women we have in our senior leadership and management teams.

The key drivers of our gender pay gap are the male dominated team we inherited when we started operations in 2005, and wider societal issues like the lack of girls choosing STEM subjects in school, college and university. It’s those drivers that mean when we needed to recruit experienced gas engineers in Cornwall we had no female applicants.

Increasing female representation in certain roles – particularly operationally, and decreasing our mean gender pay gap go hand in hand. We’re addressing that through our recruitment and development programmes and have a promising pipeline of engineers, with an increasing number of women interested in joining us. Encouragingly, after targeted recruitment campaigns in 2019, including on social media, 119 women applied for our award-winning apprenticeships this year – the highest number ever!

But we know there’s still more to do, so our plan to continue to increase the diversity of our team includes growing our strong, values based culture and our inclusive and ethical approach to business, recruiting based on our business values has removed the requirement for academic qualifications unless strictly necessary, a significant barrier to employment. We believe strongly that if you do things the right way, we can teach you all you need to do. We’ll also continue to focus on wellbeing, recognising responsibilities both at home and in work, and supporting all our colleagues in living healthier, happier lives, while continuing apprentice and graduate recruitment campaigns targeted at women.

These development programmes help make sure that all our colleagues meet their potential, irrespective of gender, age, race, disability or sexual orientation. As a leadership team we’re committed to this, and helping to make Wales & West Utilities a great place to work.

Author profile

Sarah Hopkins

Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director