Home » HS2 tackles ‘white male dominance’ in the sector

HS2 tackles ‘white male dominance’ in the sector

by Sion Geschwindt
HS2 makes 'huge waves' toward diversity

HS2 Ltd, the UK’s largest infrastructure project, has published its annual Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) report.

The report shows how, across the supply chain, HS2’s performance continues to beat industry averages for the number of female and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethic (BAME) employees working on the project, with the supply chain achieving 28% and 18% respectively.

Whilst just shy of the internal targets it set itself, HS2 Ltd’s own performance saw its female workforce reach 37% (40%), whilst the number of BAME employees peaked at 22% (23%).

Natalie Penrose, head of legacy at HS2, said: “HS2’s construction is gathering pace by the day, and we now have a 25,000-strong workforce spread across more than 350 sites.

“HS2’s scale brings the reality of our challenge to life, given the white male dominance that has gripped the rail and civil engineering sectors for many years.

“But every challenge brings opportunity, and I’m proud of the huge waves we are making to address national skills shortages, the threat of an ageing workforce in engineering and in attracting more women and BAME candidates into employment on the project.”

HS2 said its staff are empowered to share their experiences and expertise on a range of initiatives from gender balance, the inclusion of ethnic minority staff, challenging homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, and promoting disability awareness.

The company has formed a multitude of partnerships with schools, specialist employment support services, and charitable groups in hope to achieve best practice in EDI.

“We strive to ensure that we build a railway that reflects the diverse needs of the communities it will serve,” it said in a press release.

On International Disabled People’s Day in December, HS2 launched its accessibility policy and digital accessibility hub, which seek to address the changing needs of disabled employees in the workplace and ensure that staff recognise the adjustments they can make to support their colleagues and the wider workforce.

Read the full EDI report here.

Image credit: HS2

Read next: CIOB unveils diversity and inclusion charter

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