Utility firms pledge to improve workplace diversity
- April 16, 2019
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Energy and utility companies in the UK recognise the need to increase diversity in their workforce, but not just because they have to.
They know that a diverse workplace does so much more than make them compliant under equality regulations. An ageing workforce, looming skills shortage and the need to recruit and retain the best staff mean that those companies who are ahead of the curve in diversity recruitment will quickly earn the respect and custom of the industry and its clients.
The Equalities Act 2010 wasn't the start of diversity in the UK, but it was certainly an accelerant. It combined a raft of previous laws, including those covering disabilities, equal pay and race relations. In fact, when it came into force, it replaced 116 other acts and pieces of legislation. We have moved a long way from treating equality as if it only referred to race. Most people are now aware that it encompasses many factors, including gender, orientation, age, class and belief. Included in all these groups, and the others not listed, is a wealth of talent and expertise that successful companies need to tap into. They will reap the rewards in the form of an increase in specialist and creative expertise.
The Energy and Utility Skills Partnership has reported that the industry will require a further 220,000 employees to make up for a gap in required skills by 2027, prompting more than 30 energy and utility companies to sign a pledge to commit to do better within their own organisations and to implement a more diverse recruitment process. Some of the biggest guns in the industry are on board, including National Grid and Anglian Water.
Until recently, larger firms within the industry have been unable to keep up with the march. To be fair, this has largely been attributable to the historic availability of candidates qualified and wanting to work in the field, amongst whom there has been a particular shortage of women. This is where the specialist recruitment provider comes into its own.
With notable exceptions, such as MRR, there are few recruitment providers out there with the specific objective of growing a valuable database of highly skilled and qualified candidates in the highly specialised field of energy and utilities. Such a provider will pay for itself time and again and, if you're lucky enough to find one, make sure that their values match those of your organisation. Look specifically at their approach, not only to building a productive and profitable workforce, but also a diverse one.
Any firm that ever tried to procure a large contract through the UK public sector or the OJEU will also be aware of the requirement under procurement services regulations to ensure that the organisation winning the contract must be as diverse as possible. It must have in place a transparent strategy to ensure a level of diversity within its workforce. A reputable recruitment provider will make this happen as a matter of course, and so would not merely be a wise choice, but in fact a critical one. Hand-in-hand with this often comes the ability for a provider to build local networks, as this approach is known to assist with the age-old problem of employee retention, particularly in higher paid sectors.
Our Operations Director, Duane Thompson said:
“Teams that are diverse work more closely, make better decisions and are more likely to share knowledge, in addition to passing those values on to new recruits.
Energy and utility firms that are serious about developing a workforce diverse enough to ensure reward and retention, as well as a reputation for employing the best, will already know the benefits of engaging providers such as MRR Energy Services. They will not only help to find exactly the right candidates for you from both the active and passive talent pool, but they will encourage a strong working relationship through initiatives including referrals and recruitment techniques that are specifically designed to focus on the skills that matter most to you.
They engage a more holistic approach to recruitment, by involving all parties from the earliest part of the recruitment process, maximising transparency and ensuring a perfect fit.”