Continuing our diversity journey
We’re trying to deliver change in SSE. Just 30% of the people we employ are women and that needs to change in our company and elsewhere if we are to have an economy and a society that succeeds in the long term. Through our diversity programme we’re aiming to contribute to that change, not just in our own organisation but across society as a whole.
The energy industry is currently facing two significant employment challenges; a skills shortage and a stark lack of diversity. If it wants to be in a position to compete in the future it needs to take action now.
SSE, along with other employers in the energy sector, is facing a significant skills shortage in the next 5 to 10 years. Around 50% of the energy specialist and technical workforce is due to retire so it’s crucial that we can fill that skills gap. The challenge is to recruit more females into a historically male-dominated industry. There’s an extensive and highly skilled pool of women who could help to fill that gap, given the opportunity and the right support.
Delivering that change isn’t easy in such a male dominated industry but we’re determined to succeed. Part of that success will include working with outside organisations like POWERful Women, Equate and even the English Football Association.
Last night POWERful Women delivered it’s latest report on gender diversity in the energy industry. SSE is one of a number of companies to sign a gender diversity pledge within the report. We have committed to more than doubling the amount of women earning over £40,000 within the organisation by 2025.
But we need to work with a number of different stakeholders if we want to succeed. Our partnership with Equate Scotland will also help us reach our goal. We’re taking part in a pioneering project to support women back into employment in the STEM industries. We recently joined others to bring a group of women back into the workplace following a career break. This fantastic project is just taking off and we’ve recently welcomed our second “return-ship” but I can see it being a real success. There’s a lot of talented women out there and companies like SSE need to do all we can to recruit and retain them.
But it’s not just in our HR offices SSE is proud to make a difference in gender diversity. As principle sponsors of The SSE Women’s FA Cup and SSE Women’s Invitational golf tournament we are helping to break down barriers throughout society as a whole.
I’m happy to say the work we’re doing is starting to make a difference and get recognised by external bodies. The industry average for female employees is 15-16% compared to our 30%. Applications from females for our apprenticeship programme was up 44% last year and we expect that figure to continue to rise in the future.
Our colleagues from HR have been nominated for awards up and down the country for the work they’re doing to increase the number of female applicants to our apprenticeship and graduate programmes. And SSE’s sponsorship team has received awards for helping to break down the barriers faced by women in society.
At SSE we’ve always believed our people are our most important asset. But it’s important we get the right mix of people so the company can continue to grow.