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Diversity Champion of the Year finalist: Skanska

Skanska’s vision is to be a truly diverse and inclusive organisation that mirrors the societies in which it works.

In 2015, Skanska launched its global diversity and inclusion (D&I) vision, with the aim of being recognised as a leader in D&I by 2020.

This is supported at the very highest levels of the organisation, with London managing director Paul Heather appointed as a D&I champion, and chief executive Mike Putnam acting as an ambassador by holding multiple D&I positions on construction industry boards and forums.

The contractor’s talent and capability director Dan Forbes-Pepitone also represents Skanska on the Highways England Supplier Diversity Forum and Build UK’s Image Forum.

Globally, Skanska’s D&I advocates share information and best practice across business units, and in the UK a D&I forum has developed a three-year action plan.

In addition, one member of the forum, graduate engineer Kelachi Amadi-Echendu, has been supported by senior management to establish a Skanska Women’s Network, a group that anyone can join regardless of gender and which aims to develop and retain Skanska’s talented female staff.

Internally, Skanska brought its D&I vision to life through its annual Skanska Way Week, organising a week of activities, seminars, debates and workshops covering topics including unconscious bias, mental health and physical wellbeing.

“More than 200 mentees have participated in mixed pair-mentoring, with women now filling 10 per cent of senior roles, up from 8 per cent in 2011”

Skanska has also tried to foster debate externally, hosting a debate in May 2015 entitled ‘The changing face of construction’ that was attended by more than 250 people – a mixture of clients, competitors and the supply chain, along with many other industry representatives.

In 2010 the firm introduced mixed pair-mentoring, where a senior male or female employee mentors a female or male employee.

Since then, more than 200 mentees have participated, with women now filling 10 per cent of senior roles, up from 8 per cent in 2011. Of the original cohort, 70 per cent of women have received promotions, with 92 per cent still with the business.

The firm undertakes pre-employment training with all new entrants to ensure they understand its ethical and inclusive culture, while it also launched a new recruitment campaign last year focused primarily on contribution to society, appealing to a wider cross-section of people.

Skanska has sought out new pools of talent that may have previously been under-represented in construction, while strengthening its relationship with the Career Transition Partnership, leading to work placements and employment for ex-military personnel.

Overall, Skanska’ well-rounded and approach to diversity is securing positive results.

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