The Institute of Water has joined over 40 other employers in making a commitment to ensure the Energy & Utilities sector workforce is inclusive and diverse.

A key priority of the Energy & Utilities Workforce Renewal Skills Strategy 2020 is attracting and recruiting more diverse talent into our sector which reflects our local communities. Currently, our sector is not yet representative of the UK workforce for gender, BAME, disability, and under 24s. Only 5% of the sector’s employees are from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups compared to 15% nationally; most of our workforce is male and white.

Facing this challenge, CEOs from the sector’s leading businesses have committed to proactively changing these statistics and promote their businesses to under-represented talent. The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership is committed to recruiting and attracting a workforce that mirrors and speaks to the communities it serves.

The Inclusion Commitment was launched in 2019 and is now gathering pace, with a series of webinars to learn and share best practice running from July to September.

Five principles underpin the Inclusion Commitment:

  • Work collaboratively as a sector to drive change, challenging ourselves to do things differently, by sharing best practice and delivering sector priorities
  • Focus on inclusion in its entirety, however our sector history requires targeted sector action to start by increasing gender, BAME and disability workforce representation.
  • Measure and be transparent about progress in our individual organisations and as a sector.
  • Ensure we create the culture we need to attract the workforce of tomorrow.
  • Be inclusive in the way we attract, recruit and develop our people.

The Institute of Water is already committed to a policy of inclusion and equality for all its staff, members and stakeholders. We recognise the value that a diverse water industry brings to society and we are committed to promoting these benefits. We aim to be representative of the industry we serve and to ensure that there are no barriers to membership.

Sarah Murray is Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Champion on our Board of Directors and is working through an action plan which is reviewed regularly. Sarah will be reporting to members at the AGM in September but if you are interested in our policy and action plan please visit the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion page on our website.



Yorkshire Water has revealed that its mean ethnic pay gap is 3% and after becoming one of the first companies in the county to publish, has encouraged others to follow suit.

The firm is committed to being one of the most transparent companies not just in the water sector but throughout the country and earlier this year announced it was going to release the majority of its operational data by 2020.

The ethnic pay gap figure appears in the company’s first workforce diversity report which is published today. In addition to the figure for Yorkshire Water, the report also includes the pay gap for its customer service business Loop, which is 6.6%. The combined mean ethnic pay gap for the two businesses is 17.9% and the median is 27.6% due to the size populations in each organisation and the difference in salaries.

As well as the pay gap figures, the report shows how the workforce breaks down at all levels by gender and ethnicity. It also details differential recruitment and promotion performance across both these dimensions. The company has also published a limited amount of data relating to disability in the workforce.

In the report it recognises that although its data on gender is comprehensive, information on ethnicity and disability is less complete as a number of colleagues at the company have chosen not to disclose.

The report mostly shows data tables without a narrative or explanation as Yorkshire Water wants to let the data speak for itself and then enter into an open dialogue with its colleagues in the business, the communities from whom its workforce is derived and with other stakeholders.

The company is also looking at releasing its disability pay gap in the future and although Chief Executive Richard Flint is pleased that Yorkshire Water has taken a lead, admits there is still more to be done.

“We made a commitment to take a leading position on openness and transparency and this report is an important part of that commitment,” he said.

“We intend to have an open dialogue with other large employers, such as local authorities, so that we can align our efforts to improve the diversity of our workforce with theirs and ensure we are working collaboratively. 

“However, we know we must not rest on our laurels. We currently have no data on any of the other protected grounds such as religion and belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity.”  

To improve, Yorkshire Water will work on the completeness of its data and will launch a plan to raise awareness of the importance of self-declaration amongst its colleagues and will engage with them so that they will do so confidently and safely. Keen to make the use of technology, Yorkshire Water will also be making use of data analytics tools which will can help it to provide some of the missing ethnic profile data.

Richard Flint added: “Our priority is to substantially improve our data so that next year’s report shows an even more   comprehensive picture. At the very least we would expect to show comprehensive disability data and also calculate our disability pay gap once the level of available data makes that a meaningful statistic. We will progressively extend that coverage, in line with improved self- declaration until we cover all the protected grounds.” 

Rachel Reeves, MP said: “I’m encouraged by Yorkshire Water’s decision to be open and publish their ethnic pay gap statistics. This approach will lead to honest conversations and I am sure, positive changes. I am hoping other companies not just in Yorkshire but around the country follow suit.” 

For more information, please CLICK HERE to download the Workforce Diversity Report. 

The Royal Academy of Engineering called on engineering organisations to increase their use of data to measure and improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the profession at a ‘Data Driven Culture Change’ event yesterday.  Attendees also debated the state of D&I in engineering organisations.

The benefits of a data driven approach for both large and small companies were demonstrated by presentations from multinational IBM and Customem, a start-up focusing on capturing hazardous chemicals from water. Gary Kildare, Chief HR Officer of IBM Corporation Europe, highlighted the potential of data and artificial intelligence s to help improve and extend the diversity of workforces. Customem’s CEO and co-founder Henrik Hagemann outlined his philosophy of building a small team with specialist skills whilst consciously looking for maximum diversity.

At the event, attendees from across the engineering profession discussed the initial findings from a survey conducted in the summer of 2018 to shed light on the state of D&I in engineering employment – the full report will be published next year.

The survey found differences in the perceptions, actions and experiences of engineering employers of different sizes in relation to D&I, and that smaller organisations typically face challenges that limit their capacity to promote D&I. The Academy plans to address this by working with start-ups and SME leaders from the Academy’s Enterprise Hub to develop guidance specific to smaller organisations.

Many engineering employers, especially smaller organisations, thought it unlikely that increasing D&I in their business would reduce or eliminate skills shortages, but they did identify other benefits including improving company image or reputation; improving compliance with legislation; and increasing collaboration.

Previous research, “Creating cultures where all engineers thrive” found that inclusion benefits the performance of individual engineers, with 80% reporting increased motivation, 68% increased performance and 52% increased commitment to their organisations.

The Academy launched guidance at the event to give leaders, managers and people managers across engineering the tools to use existing and new data as a powerful lever for change.

John McCollum, Engineering Director a BAE Systems and member of the Academy’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group Steering Group, said:

“Measurement of diversity and inclusion is crucial to effect change across the engineering profession. The profession needs to become better at measuring diversity and inclusion to target interventions and actions, and make meaningful progress.”

Measures for D&I in engineering were developed by the engineering companies working with the Academy to provide a framework to drive change across organisations, from large corporations to SMEs, and irrespective of whether they are beginning their D&I journey or progressing towards maturity or beyond. The measures are validated by the Employers Network of Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) and tested with both large corporate and SME organisations to confirm relevance and proportionality.

The  ‘D&I in engineering measurement framework’ can be downloaded here:




Throughout July we’re going to be spending some time focussing on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion within the Institute of Water and how we are driving the vision to ensure equality for all of our members.
Firstly, a few words from Institute of Water Chief Executive, Lynn Cooper:
“The Institute of Water is renowned for being inclusive and non-hierarchical: now I believe we can add diverse to that claim, as demonstrated at our Annual Conference in Glasgow last month.
Earlier this year we launched our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Policy. This was one milestone in our progress through a framework provided by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Council.
This month we take the opportunity to tell you more about the framework, our plans and how we compare with other professional bodies and with the industry we serve; who better to introduce you to this latest themed month than Robin Price, our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Champion?”
Robin Price, Vice President Science and Board Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Champion for the Institute of Water:
“I’m delighted to welcome you to our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Month.  As Lynn says, we are proud to be known as a hugely inclusive Institute, striving to ensure that there are equal opportunities for all of our members.  I sincerely agree with Lynn that our National Conference in Glasgow showcased an incredibly diverse array of speakers and formats – congratulations again to everyone involved!
Over the last 12 months, we’ve really moved forward with our work on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI), and throughout July we’ll be showing you what this has involved and the progress that we have made.  We’ll promote our DEI policy, and let you know about the actions we are taking as a result of this policy.  We have benchmarked ourselves against other professional bodies, and whilst we compare really well, there is always more to do; again we’ll share with you some of the work we’re carrying out to continue to move ourselves forward, and we’ll hear from experts in DEI issues.  One of the areas we’ve been focussing on right across our Committees is the subject of ‘unconscious bias’; we’ll tell you much more about what unconscious bias is, and what we can all do to avoid it a bit later in the month.
One of the aims of our DEI Policy is to ensure that as an Institute, our membership is representative of the industry which we serve in terms of its diversity.  We’ve done some work to understand this; the results make interesting reading, and again we’ll share these with you during this month.
Promoting diversity of approach and thinking, ensuring that we are viewed as an inclusive organisation, with equal opportunities for all members and staff are cornerstones of our Institute.  I hope that you enjoy hearing more about the work we’ve been doing over the next couple of weeks.”