Diversity: it’s too hard …


It is widely acknowledged that the industrials sector struggles with attracting diverse talent. Construction News recently reported that the construction industry has the worst gender pay gap in the UK, with women earning ‘30.3% lower than the average for men’. In their report LGTB+ survey: Construction’s Slow Progress Laid Bare, it was also revealed that ‘just over half (54%) of LGBT+ respondents did not feel comfortable being open about their sexuality or gender on site’.

We all know why: there is a limited pipeline of diverse talent at entry level, possibly deterred by the male dominated culture instilled across the sector by the nature of the work, creating an environment which lacks diversity and has unconscious bias embedded into working practices and cultures.

Many companies in the sector are making genuine commitments to improve diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. The Government has made a commitment to boost diversity in the sector by increasing the proportion of women taking up technical and engineering apprenticeships to at least 20% by 2020. The employer-led Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce is committing to improving under-represented groups taking apprenticeships in the transport sector. The Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, has stated that the rail industry is in need of more digital skills and greater workplace diversity going forward.

But this change won’t happen overnight. There is a fundamental shift in societal thinking that needs to take place: at a recent Diversity Breakfast, one of our guest speakers relayed the results of a study where young boys and girls (around 3 to 4 years old) were read a story involving a ‘hero’. Shown a picture of a girl and a boy and asked to identify the hero, boys chose the boy and girls chose the girl. By the time the children were 6, both boys and girls identified the boy as being the hero.

An EngineeringUK study in 2017 found that 25% of girls aged 11-14 wanted to become engineers, falling to 20% for those aged 14-16, and dropping further to just 12% for those aged 16-19. Conversely, that same study found that 38% of boys aged 11-14 wanted to become engineers, climbing to 40% for those aged 14-16, and falling to 32% for those aged 16-19.

However, according to WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), 9% of UK female graduates in 2018 graduated with a Core STEM qualification, up from 8% in 2017. The only subject that saw a slight decrease was Mathematics.

Providing equal opportunity is also more than just a reference to a moral compass. It’s proven that diversity has a material impact on business:

  • Companies with a more equal gender balance are up to 20% more profitable (McKinsey 2017)
  • Companies with greater ethnic and cultural diversity are up to 30% more profitable (McKinsey 2017)
  • UK engineering is losing more than £11bn a year due to LGBT+ engineers feeling unable to be themselves at work – a 30% reduction in productivity (InterEngineering 2016)
  • …and all of this is within the context that the UK has an annual shortfall of 20,000 engineers (manufacturer.com)

So it is a critical issue. The depth of the problem and need for fundamental long term change can deter real action and perpetuate the issue. Government and organisations in the sector need to invest in consciously promoting opportunities at entry level to diverse candidates; businesses need to address working practices to enable culture change to attract and retain diverse talent; and risks need to be taken to provide opportunity for diverse talent to take an increasing share of leadership roles.

However, all is not doom and gloom. There are some basic fundamentals you can adopt to make a more immediate impact on your workplace. Having assessed activities that make a difference across our clients there are five key themes:

  • Lateral hiring to increase your talent pool: exploring transferable skills and most complementary sectors.
  • Improve your employer brand: re-assessing employer value proposition (EVP) to change brand perception in the market
  • You know what you’re saying…but does the target audience?: reviewing language and imagery used to ensure appeal to the right people
  • Invest in longer term onboarding and new hiring aftercare: committing to more substantive, longer term onboarding and feedback sessions with mentors and managers
  • Be inclusive not just diverse: listen to the varying needs of all employees and act on changes across wellbeing, flexible working conditions and other areas

Most organisations recognise these issues, but few go the extra mile to truly adopt them. As competition increases this will no longer be an option.

If you would like to discuss how Norman Broadbent can help you overcome your business or people challenges, or to specifically discuss Diversity & Inclusivity, please do not hesitate to contact Jacqui Pinnell for an initial and confidential conversation.

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Norman Broadbent’s Tim Hammett joins expert panel at QCA Board event

On 11th June 2019 at Haberdasher’s Hall the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) will be hosting its Annual Forum: Building Better Boards. Now in its eighth year, the annual forum attracts around 100 board level attendees from small and mid-size quoted companies.

This year it will take the form of two panels of speakers giving their opinions on what makes a good board for a company to not only succeed and function, but to grow and develop. This Forum will help Business Leaders understand how a company forms the right group of people with the skills and experience to not only run the business, but fulfil the requirements of a quoted company. We will explore how to create the right board, how to retain board members AND how to know when your board needs to change.

The Keynote Speaker will be Professor Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance & Leadership at Henley Business School. James Ashton, ex-City Editor of the Sunday Times will be chairing the event.

The first session focusses on how to build a Balanced Board and Board Formation, and explores what investors are looking for in a board. The panel consists of:

  • Nick Naylor, Chief Executive, Allenby Capital
  • Judith MacKenzie, Partner & Head of Public Equity, Downing LLP
  • Tim Hammett, Managing Partner, Norman Broadbent (pictured)



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Norman Broadbent Chief Executive recognised by CEO Today magazine in 2019 European Business Awards

CEO Today Magazine today announced that Mike Brennan, Group Chief Executive Officer of leading Professional Services firm, Norman Broadbent Group Plc, has been selected as a winner and recipient of their 2019 European Business Award.

The CEO Today Magazine European Business Awards scheme recognises, identifies, and honours respected companies and their C-level executives operating within Europe today. Each year, Researchers at CEO Today determine the eligibility of award contenders based on achievements such as growth in revenues, turnaround and transformation success, innovation, the development of new products/services, and the successful introduction of a new business model or strategy.

Other recipients this year included CEOs from companies such as Total SA, AXA, Deutsche Telekom AG, Shell, Ericsson, UBS, Roche, Glencore, and Centrica.

Mike Brennan, CEO of Norman Broadbent, said:

“The award is a huge recognition for our team who have shown considerable commitment during the successful transformation of the Norman Broadbent Group. It is an honour to lead this hard-working, inspirational group of people. They have shown themselves to be innovative, resilient and highly professional. This award is not just for me, it is for all of us.” 

About Norman Broadbent Group Plc:

Norman Broadbent Group plc is a leading Professional Services firm focusing on Talent Acquisition & Advisory Services. Since its formation nearly 40 years ago and now Stock Exchange listed, the Norman Broadbent Group has developed a portfolio of complementary professional services. These centre on Board & Leadership/Executive Search, Senior Interim Management, Research & Insight, Leadership Consulting & Assessment, and executive level Talent Solutions.

In its most recent trading update for the year ended 31 December 2018, Norman Broadbent Group posted record revenues showing top-line growth of +42%.

For further information please contact:

Mike Brennan

Chief Executive Officer

Norman Broadbent Group plc

E: mike.brennan@normanbroadbent.com

T: 020 7484 0000

W: www.normanbroadbent.com



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