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'Offshore wind can reap the benefits of diversity'

OPINION | Putting a structure in place to promote diversity and inclusiveness is a win-win for employees, businesses and the wider offshore wind sector, writes Jennifer Bradshaw

As a business ventures into new opportunities worldwide, diversity becomes even more significant with secondments abroad and the hiring of local experts, some at management level.

As the offshore wind industry expands out of Europe and with the globalisation of the supply chain and workforce, it is important that the inclusive culture is prominent in this growing global industry as a whole.

Recently, the diversity spotlight has fallen on the gender pay gap, drawing attention to the inequality of women within the work place – yet this is only a small part of achieving overall diversity. For Innogy, diversity is a strategic management function and is key to our becoming better and ever more successful in the long term.

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For that reason, Innogy aims to promote balanced, more knowledgeable teams by creating a working environment that is open and respectful, allowing equal contribution from those involved. For me, as a young graduate starting out in the company, this diverse environment has allowed me to feel comfortable within my team and the business. There are also various other networks within the company such as ‘enermates’ (the young professionals network), women’s network, and ‘LGBT and friends’, a recent initiative, that helps to build inclusive culture within the workplace.

Innogy Renewables UK has put a plan in place to improve its business through diversifying its workforce. They have made changes to how vacancies are advertised so they appeal to a wider range of applicants, reducing unconscious bias whilst recruiting, and by using a new recruitment software to improve gender decoding of vacancy advertisements. The New Talents Development Programme is part of this initiative.

The New Talents process was launched in 2017 and is different to a traditional graduate programme. The aim was to recruit 10 individuals, who embody Innogy’s strategy of continually employing the best talents, and with a cross body of skills looking to enter the industry. The process focusses on self-development with the opportunity for us to build our own aspirations and action plans.

"Being a young female entering the energy industry just six months ago, I realised I’d mentally prepared myself for a male dominated environment."

I am proud to say I am part of the Innogy offshore wind New Talents process of 10 individuals, located across both Germany and the UK. This is particularly positive as we are all from differing educational backgrounds, various nationalities, and there is an equal gender ratio. On starting my role the amount of talk surrounding diversity has surprised me, so there are clearly improvements taking place and a focus on a more diverse future. Innogy is all about being sustainable and innovative, which can achieved through diversity.

Being a young female entering the energy industry just six months ago, I realised I’d mentally prepared myself for a male dominated environment because of my education in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] subjects, which typically have a higher male intake. I was lucky enough to have a female role model in my Renewable Energy Engineering MSc as the course lead, which inspired me and gave me the drive to succeed. Recently I also attended a women’s initiative discussion within Innogy. I found the experience positive and it showed the company is striving to promote gender equality.

Innogy feels very inclusive to me particularly with the different number of nationalities present in the office. There are lots of opportunities to work alongside international colleagues and contribute to global projects. By being a multi-national company it really adds to the feeling of diversity in the day-to-day business. The recruitment of young people allows the business to benefit through more diversity in senior management roles in years to come. Once the diversity process and awareness has begun, this will happen automatically.

Evidence is clear that diverse companies perform best. And as the offshore wind industry moves into new global markets, internationality becomes a very important aspect of the diversity agenda.

Jennifer Bradshaw is one of the first recruits to Innogy’s New Talents programme, which launched in December 2017

This is one of a series of blog posts from RenewableUK in the run-up to Global Offshore Wind 2018

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