Privately-owned construction, property services and residential development company, Wates Group, has dedicated an entire month to promoting diversity and inclusion – with October set to become an annual ‘Inclusion Month’.
As part of this month, the company has published its third Gender Pay Gap Report, indicating an improvement both in the proportion of women represented at all levels across the company as well as a reduction in the pay gap between men and women. The proportion of women employed across the Group rose from 18.9 per cent in 2018 to 20.3 per cent in 2019 and the pay gap reduced from 23.1 per cent in 2018 to 21.7 per cent in 2019. There was also a 1.5 per cent increase in the proportion of women in the most senior levels of the company, to 11.5 per cent.
Publishing the report is just one step in a major programme of activities being organised by Wates throughout October, beginning with National Inclusion Week (28 September – 2 October), which has been focused on encouraging more conversation, awareness and understanding of issues within the workforce relating to gender, race and sexuality.
Colleagues have been invited to participate in a range of ‘masterclasses’ on issues as diverse as overcoming imposter syndrome, building an LGBT+ inclusive workplace, and building confidence in a virtual world; to join themed quizzes; and to attend webinars featuring leading figures in diversity and inclusion in the UK such as the founder of UK Black Pride, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah. Coinciding as it does with Black History Month, October has also featured other activities focused on combatting racism and responding to the global conversation on race prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Inclusion Month is just one of a range of initiatives launched by Wates since its publication last year of its D&I Strategy, #WatesTogether, which set out industry-leading targets, including the target of doubling the proportion of women in the workforce to 40 per cent by 2025.Wates’ Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Nikunj Upadhyay said: “We are committed to building an organisation which is more representative of the communities we serve, offering equality of opportunities to diverse talent and an inclusive work environment where this talent thrives. The bold targets we have set ourselves will take time to achieve, but we are moving in the right direction and we are committed to achieving sustainable change.”
Inclusion Month was established acknowledging key events within the diversity calendar in October, particularly Black History Month, World Menopause Awareness Day, National Work Life Week, National Coming Out Day and World Mental Health Day.