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Diversity Champion of the Year finalists: Carillion

Carillion’s efforts to create a more diverse and integrated workforce are embedded into its sustainability strategy, with the contractor aiming to create a culture that celebrates difference while maintaining an environment where all employees have the same opportunities to progress.

The company revamped its graduate programme to appeal to a wider range of people, ditching images of men in hi-vis jackets and presenting a less stereotypical view of construction careers alongside real graduates’ stories.

As a result, diversity among the graduate intake improved drastically, with 36 per cent of the most recent intake being female, compared with 12 per cent the previous year. In addition, the split between white and black and ethnic minority graduates was 50:50.

Carillion has introduced its Gender Pathways programme to provide a route for its female employees to progress, with the aim for 30 per cent of the senior management team to comprise women – up from the current 12 per cent.

The programme sees a member of the chief executive leadership team sponsor and mentor an individual for five months, with more than 50 female employees selected for Gender Pathways so far.

The contractor has also established a Working Mums’ Network with more than 400 members. Katarina Fidler, a general manager in Carillion’s recruitment arm, won the Champion Award at Business in the Community’s Excellence in Practice Awards 2015 for her work in driving this network, and the company was named as one of the Times’ top 50 employers for women.

“The results are stark: the percentage of mothers returning to work at Carillion jumped from 76 per cent to an impressive 96 per cent”

Carillion has reviewed its maternity policy, extending it to 12 weeks’ full pay, as well as developing a more flexible working policy.

The results of this shift are stark: the percentage of mothers returning to work at Carillion jumped from 76 per cent to an impressive 96 per cent, while the company has seen a 4 per cent increase in women in leadership roles and a 6 per cent increase in women in operational roles.

In response to feedback from staff, Carillion also launched a Working Dads’ Network which now has more than 50 members, as well as a new LGBT network, which is sponsored at chief executive level, with Carillion signing up as a Diversity Champion with Stonewall.

The company invests £100,000 annually in Your Life, a government-supported national campaign aimed at 14-16-year-olds, focused particularly on girls, that encourages them to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Carillion has shown real commitment to diversity and a willingness to change its company culture – which is paying off in impressive staff retention statistics and an increasingly diverse workforce.

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