CEOs and directors from 32 of the country’s leading energy and utilities employers today launched a sector inclusion commitment to attract more diverse and inclusive talent into the industry, thereby reflecting the communities they serve.

The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, led by sector employers, recognised in its Workforce Renewal Skills Strategy: 2020, that its current workforce fails to fully represent the 65 million people it serves every day. It’s no great surprise that 83% of the sector’s workforce are male, compared to 47% for all sectors nationally. Women, people with disabilities, the BAME community and under 24s have traditionally been under-represented in the energy and utilities sector, compared to national averages.

To tackle this challenge, and to build a resilient workforce for the future, 32 leading employers have committed to drive change and work collaboratively to attract, recruit and retain a more diverse talent to the sector. Employing around 566,000 people across the UK, the sector will need over 220,000 new recruits to fill its expected skills gap by 2027.

The commitment will challenge the sector to act and think differently and aims to inspire and connect with underrepresented groups, attracting new talent and ideas into the energy and utilities industry. It is underpinned by five principles* that commit to working collaboratively and sharing best practice, whilst creating an inclusive culture that enables us to attract, recruit and develop our people in a way where progress can be measured and transparent.

Nick Ellins, Chief Executive, Energy & Utility Skills Group said: “Through the inaugural skills strategy, led by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, the UK’s utilities and their contractors have set out their ambition to enhance the diversity of their workforces and be ever more inclusive. This new commitment is a framework. It starts the collective action to help the sector workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams.”

David McLoughlin, Managing Director of Utilities at Amey, said: “Ensuring Amey is an attractive and inclusive place to work is really important to us. We were the first company in our sector to achieve Leaders in Diversity status for our work in this area, however we know there is still more we can do.

“A wider range of experience and a more diverse workforce will help us deliver services that better respond to the needs of the communities in which we work. We’re delighted to be supporting the Energy and Utilities Skills Partnership inclusion commitment to help our business and the industry change.”

Basil Scarsella, Chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership Council, said: “The Inclusion Commitment is an opportunity for all of us in the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership to develop workforces that reflect the communities we all serve and tackle the challenge of increasing diversity head on. We are very keen to share best practice and drive change through proactive, transparent measures.”

Proactively working with and attracting under-represented talent will be crucial to ensuring a resilient, future-proofed workforce that is a vital part of improving UK productivity and growth. Government will invest more than £425bn (billion) in over 600 major projects across the UK (to 2020/21 and beyond). Nearly half the projects in this pipeline are assigned to electricity, gas, water and sewerage, and waste, making the energy and utilities sector the largest single contributor to government’s UK infrastructure strategy.