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Energy industry launches new coalition on gender diversity

22/05/2018

Energy industry launches new coalition on gender diversity - CEOs pledge to step up action in response to new statistics

A new initiative is being launched today 22 May 2018 to drive up the number of women at senior levels and middle management in the UK’s energy industry.

The Energy Leaders’ Coalition comprises eight of the leading CEOs from the UK’s energy sector who are making a public declaration to improve gender diversity in their companies and in the sector as a whole.

Welcoming the initiative, Business Secretary Greg Clark said; “If companies fail to have diversity at the top of their business they are missing out on the full talent available to them.

“While some energy companies have made progress to improve diversity in the boardroom, we need all companies in this sector to step up. Foresighted initiatives like this new coalition will break down barriers and help ensure that women are not held back and are given equal opportunities in the workplace.”

Energy industry launches new coalition on gender diversity

The new Coalition, announced by the Secretary of State at the House of Lords on the eve of POWERful Women’s Annual Conference in London, has been launched in response to new board statistics also published today. These show that little progress has been made by the UK’s top 80 energy companies over the past 12 months in meeting targets to improve gender diversity:

  • Women still occupy only 13% of board seats (up from 11% in 2017);
  • Women still occupy only 6% % of executive board seats (same as 2017)
  • Half the companies have no women on their boards at all (up from 46%)
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Ruth Cairnie, Chair of POWERful Women, said; “Our latest statistics show that, while some progress has been made in getting women into senior positions, it is moving far too slowly. We are missing out on a wealth of female talent. The Energy Leaders’ Coalition shows what good leadership looks like and we hope will inspire others in the sector to take convincing action."

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower, said; “I have always believed that a diverse workforce is the best way to drive success in an organisation and we’ve already seen with the emergence of the gender pay gap this year, the underrepresentation of women in senior roles brought more front of mind for business leaders than ever before. We’re proud to join the Energy Leaders Coalition and hope to lead by example by showing how gender diverse teams with strong leadership can deliver far greater levels of innovation, creativity and success for our business.”

The Coalition comprises the following eight CEOs:

  • Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, ScottishPower
  • Juliet Davenport OBE, Chief Executive, Good Energy
  • John Pettigrew, Chief Executive, National Grid
  • Alistair Philips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE
  • Simone Rossi, Chief Executive, EDF Energy
  • Matthew Wright, Managing Director, Ørsted UK
  • Paul Cowling, Managing Director, innogy Renewables UK
  • Sinead Lynch, UK Country Chair, Shell

Each recognises that there is a rich pool of talented women in the sector who can make a significant contribution to the growth of their business and to the transformation of the UK’s energy sector to meet the challenges of the coming decades.

The members of the Energy Leaders’ Coalition are at different stages of the journey to meeting government and industry targets – some have made good progress and but all are honest that they have a way to go and will benefit from the experience and support of their fellow CEOs.

The Coalition will meet regularly to review their progress, share evidence of what works and plan actions to improve. They will act as Ambassadors to encourage and support others in the sector to accelerate change, by demonstrating the benefits to their business.

The POWERful Women Annual Conference will also see the launch of a new report on gender pay gap by Korn Ferry Hay Group and POWERful Women. It discusses the steps companies in the energy sector are taking to address the gender pay gap and five ways they can supercharge their efforts.