COVID-19 could accelerate pace of change on inclusive workplaces

UK energy leaders are accelerating change to their employees’ working practices in response to the COVID-19 crisis and this can support the development of the talent and skills needed for the energy transition, a new report published today by POWERful Women reveals.

Bringing Gender Diversity and Inclusion Commitments to Life’ is the Second Anniversary Report of the Energy Leaders’ Coalition, a commitment by the heads of 14 of the UK’s top energy companies to improving gender diversity and inclusion within their own organisations and across the UK energy sector. 

The report reviews progress made by the companies in the past year, including what has been difficult and why; the good work each organisation is doing in case studies that others can learn from – the ‘recipes for inclusion’; and plans for year three to overcome remaining barriers in a shifting world.

Recent analysis by POWERful Women and PwC of the boards of the top UK energy companies has reinforced the need to drive greater representation at senior levels:

  • 21% of board seats are occupied by women
  • 13% of executive board seats are occupied by women
  • 38% of the UK’s top energy companies have no women on their boards at all
  • More than two-thirds (79%) have no women occupying executive board seats.

Ruth Cairnie, Chair of POWERful Women, commented: “We’re delighted to publish the second anniversary report of the Energy Leaders’ Coalition, a response from the very top of the industry to the poor level of representation of women in senior roles. In the report, the companies share the strategies and programmes that are doing the heavy lifting to improve inclusion and diversity - and bringing real results. 

“At times of uncertainty and disruption, diversity and inclusion are more important than ever. While we must ensure that lessons are embedded and gender stays on the agenda during the recovery, I am reassured to see that many UK energy leaders are accelerating real change in their working practices to ensure they have the best talent available. There is more to do but this will help equip the industry for the energy transition and economic challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Juliet Davenport, CEO and Founder, Good Energy, commented: “The energy industry remains deeply unequal and we can’t allow COVID-19 to make things worse. It’s inspiring to see this issue being taken seriously by energy leaders - our renewed commitment to diversity and inclusion should convince others to follow suit.”

The report is being launched at POWERful Women’s 3rd Annual Conference on 1st October, which this year takes place online and during National Inclusion Week. The conference ‘Leading and learning on diversity and inclusion: equipping the sector for the energy transition’ will feature government, energy leaders and influencers at the heart of the energy transition and at the forefront of diversity and inclusion – to share good practice, listen and learn.  

Speakers include the new Permanent Secretary at BEIS, Sarah Munby, and six members of the ELC:  John Pettigrew of National Grid, Sinead Lynch of Shell UK, Tom Glover of RWE UK, Juliet Davenport of Good Energy, Will Gardiner of Drax and Alistair Phillips-Davies of SSE.