Over the past few months, I have been listening and learning more about the business case for diversity and inclusion. At Ofgem, we have a number of staff-led networks, some old and some more recently established, which are helping us to take a more active lead in our approach to diversity and inclusion.
As a symbol of our commitment, today we are launching our organisational Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to ensure we hold ourselves to account for making progress on this important issue. The strategy will set out our organisational objectives in relation to diversity:
- Building a diverse and inclusive workforce which better reflects the GB population we serve
- Making our workplace culture a more inclusive one where everyone can be their true selves and flourish
- Working with, and influencing, other organisations across the energy sector to improve diversity and inclusion.
Today we are holding two events on Diversity and Inclusion, one in London chaired by Martin Cave (our Chairman) and I will be hosting the Glasgow event. In both we will be joined by a number of guest speakers from the energy industry, government and other sectors to discuss how best to promote and celebrate our differences.
To help us monitor our progress in becoming representative of the consumers we serve, our strategy includes two important aspirational targets. By 2025, Ofgem aspires to achieve 50% female representation across all its pay grades, from the most junior roles all the way up to our Senior Civil Servants. By the same time period, we aspire to achieve a minimum of 18% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation across all Ofgem pay grades, with at least 9% at each grade being BAME women. This should render our gender and ethnicity pay gaps negligible. Of course, targets are not in themselves enough, but are a symbol of our commitment and will ensure we hold ourselves to account for making progress on this important issue. Further action will be taken if our pay gaps do not start to decline as our gender and ethnic diversity increases.
Moreover, we won’t just stop at gender and ethnic diversity. We want an organisation that reflects the full diversity of the consumers we serve, including the LGBT+ community, people caring for and living with disabilities (indeed people with any caring responsibilities) as well as people from all socio-economic backgrounds. This list is not exhaustive. Whilst we have not set ourselves aspirational targets for the representation of all these groups of consumers, we commit to working with our staff to improve the data we hold on their characteristics so that meaningful targets can be set, where necessary, to raise Ofgem’s diversity in all respects.
Ofgem’s diversity champion, Rob Salter-Church, and our diversity groups within Ofgem are currently raising awareness of these issues and starting to change the culture within our organisation. However, we cannot do this alone. “Inclusion starts with I”, we all have a part to play in creating this inclusive culture that we desire.
At Ofgem, we think it’s hugely important for us to put more effort and resources into becoming a more diverse organisation. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because we think it will help us to make better decisions. We will respond to different experiences of different people from different backgrounds, and have fuller and better decisions.
I want Ofgem to be amongst the leaders in promoting and achieving a diverse workforce across the Civil Service and the energy sector we regulate. I am looking forward to all of us working towards being reflective of the public that we serve.