We’re helping forge a gender balanced world

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 this Friday is #BalanceforBetter. As IWD says, right now is a great and important time to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world.

The gender balance issues facing SSE are well-known.  Too few women work for the company (just 31% of the total workforce) and there are too few women in leadership roles.  This is reflected in our UK gender pay gap, which is currently almost 20%.

An improving gender balance will make SSE a better place to work and add to the talent and skills available as we work towards our vision of being a leading energy company in a low carbon world.

To deal with all of this (and in recognition of the fact that diversity is not solely about gender) we have an IN, ON, UP strategy to: encourage a more diverse mix of people to work for SSE; to stay with SSE; and to progress their careers at SSE.  Unfortunately, change is not going to happen overnight, but I am determined that it will happen.

To that end, the SSE Board last month adopted an ambition for female membership on the Board of at least 33%, to be maintained on average over a three-year rolling period, being consistent with the ultimate goal of a Board that is generally gender-balanced.

The Board is only one part of the story.  There are too few women in senior positions in FTSE 350 companies such as SSE, and a year ago the Board and the Group Executive Committee (GEC) adopted new ambitions to improve the gender balance in senior leadership roles in SSE.

SSE is at the forefront of much change in the energy sector and it is more important than ever that we build high performing teams with a diverse range of skills and talents.  When appointing people to roles, this means finding the best person for the role and for the team as a whole.  It’s also important to consider development options that allow us to get some people wider exposure across the business and at different levels so in the long term we can build a more diverse workforce. 

This is something I’m fully committed to and we’ve made good strides to date to put in place the building blocks.  I hope we shall be able to report solid progress by the time of International Women’s Day in 2020.

About the author

Alistair Phillips-Davies Chief Executive

Alistair became Chief Executive of SSE on 1 July 2013. He has a degree in Natural Sciences and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He has worked in the energy industry since 1997, when he joined Southern Electric. He was appointed to the Board of SSE as Energy Supply Director in 2002 and was appointed Deputy Chief Executive in 2012. As Chief Executive, he leads the Executive Committee and the rest of the SSE team in the day-to-day running and operations of SSE and is responsible for implementing the strategy and policy set by the Board.

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