Diversity taskforce launches

Posted at July 2, 2022 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Diversity taskforce launches

The energy sector has launched a new body to improve diversity.

Spearheaded by Energy UK, Ofgem and Energy Networks Association, the TIDE (Tackling Inclusion and Diversity in Energy) Taskforce, will bring together experts across industry to work together to ensure a diverse workforce.

The new body will run for 18 months and be held to account through a regular reporting requirement.

The announcement was made during the EDI conference which took place at the QEII Centre in Westminster.

According to several reports, the utility sector is lagging in creating a diverse workforce.

Lesley Babb, Ofgem’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agreed with the findings and told ELN: “I would agree, the stats are alarming. The positive thing is that we are seeing some progress but it’s very slow and I understand the challenges that come with that, but definitely, it needs to be more ambitious in this space.

“The alarming thing that needs to be addressed is that we haven’t got data on most of them, so we know where we are on gender, but I think we don’t know what we don’t know. That’s a key challenge is trying to get out there and see what’s actually going on.”

Asked about the main problems related to diversity that need to be addressed by the energy industry as soon as possible, Joshua Atkins, Pride in Energy’s Chair and Head of Communications at Energy Networks Association told ELN: “From Pride in Energy’s research, the biggest issue is the widespread use of inappropriate language in the workplace.

“Some of which is outright bullying but there’s also the ’everyday’, casual comments which need to be rooted out. A quick win there is for senior leaders to make clear the importance of respect, whether of gender, race or orientation.”

Looking at possible solutions to improve diversity in the energy sector, Mr Atkins said: “A common theme from my conversations with different businesses is the lack of availability of STEM-educated people, let alone STEM-educated people from diverse backgrounds.”

ELN asked Juliette Sanders, Director of Strategic Communications at Energy UK whether businesses can solve diversity and inclusion-related issues alone.

Ms Sanders said: “There’s a lot that companies can do and a lot of levers they can put to receive the value that you get from a diverse workforce.

“I think where the government can play a part is in kind of breaking down the barriers in this sort of systematic prejudices that sometimes we see and the wider barriers when it comes to that kind of nationwide approach rather than a company level.”

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