SSE has made the Bloomberg Gender-Equality index for the third year running, demonstrating the business’ commitment to transparency and tackling inequalities. Rosie Macrae, our head of diversity and inclusion, explains more about SSE’s approach to addressing the issue for the long-term.
SSE has made the Bloomberg Gender-Equality index since 2018 and we are very proud not only to be placed in this year’s index, but also to achieve an above average increase in score. The Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index gives investors insight into an organisation’s approach to gender equality by assessing policies and practices. And with the increasing focus on Environmental, Social and Governance credentials by investors – achieving results like these are very good for employees, society and business.
We recognise that by creating an inclusive culture, where everyone can be their best and opportunities are fair and open for all, is how we will increase the diversity of the company. And we know that it’s this diversity that will deliver more creativity, innovation and diversity in thinking. For us diversity is much broader than only focusing on gender, ethnicity and the other listed protected characteristics, however these are commonly the ones that grab the headlines and that we are frequently asked to report on.
SSE has changed significantly over the last year with the sale of our GB domestic retail business to Ovo. Our business is now predominantly an infrastructure business with a huge engineering focus and, as an industry, big strides need to be made alongside a long-term approach to attracting a more diverse workforce. From encouraging a more diverse group of school leavers to consider apprenticeships or engineering degrees to ensuring people believe that difference is valued at all levels across the industry.
In 2017 we publicly set out four diversity targets to achieve by March 2021 to help us track change. The big challenge for us is to gather the diversity information from current employees so we can fully and accurately report. Only 15% of our workforce has disclosed diversity information. These disclosures are, of course, voluntary, but we’re actively explaining the benefits and encouraging more of our employees to do so. You can see from the targets below how the new SSE business, which takes into account the sale of our retail energy services business to Ovo, are tracking.
* Based on the 1,716 (15.4%) SSE employees who provided diversity info.
SSE was one of the first companies to disclose the gender pay gap – two years early – because we value transparency and recognise creating a more diverse workforce, is something that will take time. But by measuring it you have a good place to start. We’ve put in place a series of measures and actions to drive a more diverse workforce. Our In, On and Up strategy is focused on attracting a wider range of candidates to SSE vacancies, promoting the business as a great place to work and grow your career, as well as offering the support for more people to develop and climb the ladder across the organisation.
In the last year our business has pushed forward three things that we believe will drive most change out of all that we are doing.
- Encourage working differently at all levels – this is a key driver for all diversity and is an expectation of most new employees
- Advertise all opportunities – this is applied not only to vacancies but to internal opportunities to get involved on adhoc special projects too
- Take time to think about what skills you really need when recruiting – broadening thinking on what you are looking for will broaden the candidate pool that apply
The Bloomberg Gender Equality Index recognises SSE for its transparency on equality and the efforts it is taking to address it and we regularly share these with other employers who are trying to encourage more diversity. It takes time, but that being said we are hungry for change too as we know more diverse workforces are more successful in the long-term and that is critical to our overall strategic vision of building a better world of energy.