Morson prides itself on being an equal opportunities employer that provides an inclusive environment to candidates and employees alike. We believe that diversity of thought promotes
innovation by bringing multiple perspectives to discussions and decisions.
In 2017 we launched our women in engineering pledge to double the number of female contractors by 2020 (on Women in Engineering day 2017 this stood at 7.5% of our contractor population).
We regularly profile the success stories of females within our industry highlighting the wide variety of careers in engineering and importantly, changing the perception of our industry from that of a male-dominated one to an inclusive and change-making industry.
We have been privileged enough to interview some of the most talented women in the engineering industry, exploring their career paths, challenges and inspirations to highlight the careers available to the next generation.
Sian Whittaker joined EC Harris in 1999, prior to its merger with design and consultancy giant, Arcadis, in 2011. Having undertaken accountancy qualifications in her early years in business, Sian has since worked across several roles within Arcadis, and is now a senior leader and director. In this blog for our Women in Leadership campaign and as a Morson client, she shares her best advice for people wanting to progress in their careers; what we can all learn from one another; why equality must go beyond gender and how letting children make their own mistakes is the best thing we can do for them. “There’s no ‘typical day’ in my role; every day is different and many days I’ll be asked to do something I’ve never done before. But primarily, I focus on making sure that people want to come to work, that they’re able to work on projects which can make a lasting difference in society, that they are safe while they’re with us and are safe when they go home, too. I’m responsible for ensuring consistency in attitudes, values and culture across all our people – perm staff and contingent labour – so I spend a lot of time understanding what our employees think about, and what they’re experiencing. This is very rewarding and helps me better determine how we can tailor our service for clients, ensuring they receive something different from our delivery compared to that of our competitors. “I didn’t take the typical route to this role that people might expect. I didn’t go to university, I don’t have a degree, and my accountancy qualification was undertaken while I was working here in a junior role. I’ve experienced big challenges to get to where I am now but am lucky to have always been surrounded by people who wanted to help and support me, so I focus on paying that back to our team. It’s only when you’re able to look back that you can say ‘I’ve done really well before; I can do whatever is in front of me now’. “A part of my role that many don’t know about is how much time I spend listening. I’m not just a director in a highly technical role; I’m also a confidant, a friend, a sounding board, and I’m really proud of that. I am an official mentor for our internal team, and have coaching duties outside of the business, too. It’s so important to invest your time in other people, because we all have something to learn. In my role as a mentor or coach I’m supposed to be the one sharing knowledge of guidance – and I make sure I do that to my best ability – but I’m also able to spot really insightful behaviour, tenacity and innovation, which I can learn from myself, but can also be channelled back into the business to help it grow. “It’s always been a priority of mine to ensure we are welcoming placement year students from Manchester University into our team, which mentoring feeds into. The benefits of working with these eager young people are so invaluable – for us, but mainly for them. When I came into business, work experience wasn’t a thing, and I had no idea where to start but I knew I wanted to do my very best. Someone spotted something in me and I was able to climb the ladder. Only by bringing young people – our future leaders – in at a young age will we spot what the next 10 or 15 years might look like. We embed them into everything, only ever asking them to do tasks we’d be happy to do at director level, and we see so many stay on with us for the long term. They teach us what we need to know about how young people think today, and we’re able to add some serious talent to our ranks. “Lots of students who join us will ask for my key pieces of advice to do well – how they can thrive, impress and forge a long-lasting career. I start with asking them what it is they enjoy doing and if they’d like to make this part of their job role. If they do, we look at the stepping stones we can put in place to adapt their existing role around that, as soon as possible, so they begin gaining experience straight away rather than having to wait for a promotion. “Then I tell them to get rid of any timeframes they might have in mind for their life and certain milestones. Everyone seems to want to do something by a certain point and if they don’t achieve it when they think they should, they beat themselves up about it. I say if you want to get somewhere, whatever route you take, we will get there together, but only when it’s meant to be. “I advise them to remain authentic and true to themselves. Not everyone has the support in their role that I’ve been lucky to have but you’re more likely to get it if you’re always honest about who you are, what you want to achieve and how you intend to get there. This doesn’t have to come across as arrogant – stay grounded and real. It’ll help you get to where you want to be. “Equally, everyone should analyse the difference between their own perceived weaknesses, and the perceptions of those around them. People are their own worst enemy and often think they’re terrible at things that other people think they are brilliant at. Understanding how other people look at you helps develop your strengths, means you can learn more about yourself and instils great self-belief. “I am also a big believer in failure. You have to get things wrong to get things right. That’s one of the most important messages we can tell our children – it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to find your own solution when you do – we’ll be there to catch them when or if they fall. I’ve always felt in a safe place to make mistakes; Arcadis provide a comfort zone for learning and making those errors in your role, you’re supported to use your decision making skills to forge a path out of it, and resolve the situation. “That, to me, is an essential part of leadership – being so approachable in your nature that people can tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. Listening to people, showing you have time for them – irrelevant of what’s going on in your own world – is one of the best gifts you can give. But you must be conscious in your listening; pay attention, listen to what’s not being said as much as what is. You should never act on your first or second thought or response to what someone is saying; think about what is it they need from you before you react. Because your reaction is what builds up the trust that person clearly is reaching out for. “In a previous life, there were occasions when in meetings, I was trying to speak up and people would physically stand in front of me so I couldn’t be heard, or so they could get their point across first. It took time for me to build up the courage to speak to someone about what was happening, and I was coached to react differently. Someone listened to my challenge and taught me how to create a different outcome, but it was those coaching sessions which encouraged me to think I could eventually become a leader within this business. “Everyone has a right to be in the role they want to be and at Arcadis we are good at promoting that. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from – if you have the technical competency, and are willing to work hard, you can achieve anything. And yes, we work in a predominately male sector but as a business we have made great advancements in our gender balance and inclusion agenda. Our senior leadership team is now a 50/50 split between males and females. And women aren’t in their roles because they’re women; it’s because they’re fantastic at what they do. “And that’s a great position to be in but, of course, complete diversity across the board is a much better achievement to head towards. We must strive for diversity in ability, race, sexuality and more if we want our business to be representative of the world we live in, and if we want the best talent in the industry. And Morson, as our talent partner, has become key in this process. Their own ED&I ambitions match our own, and they can envisage with us how a diverse scope of talent today will help us create a more resilient business in the future. But that also requires working with all the people who influence young people now, ensuring they share our message that you can be whatever you want to be. “If I could achieve one thing moving forwards, it would be to become the person that other people look to and think ‘if she can do it, I can too’. Because there is nothing more rewarding than spotting the potential in someone when they’ve come to you for leadership and then, years down the line, knowing they’ve achieved their ambitions and are now in a position of leadership themselves.” We're committed to supporting people to achieve their ambitions. If you would like to find out how we can support you to diversify and empower your workforce or would like to be involved in our Role Models or Women in Leadership series please email email@example.comFind out more
BAME attrition statistics make it clear there are significant improvements to make before we can call the industry truly inclusive, particularly when considering that attrition costs an average of £30.6k per each employee lost. BAME communities face their own unique disadvantages within society, with a higher than average chance of having experienced poverty and poorer educational outcomes. Despite more BAME people in the UK obtaining degrees, these groups are still most likely to face a job gap compared to white colleagues with the same qualifications. For example, research from the Resolution Foundation found that Black African and Bangladeshi graduates are twice as likely to work in low-paying occupations as Indian, White and Chinese university leavers. As part of our research for our whitepaper 'BAME Representation in the Workplace', we were able to determine whether BAME employees are more likely to leave their roles due to workplace pressures than none-BAME groups, and identify which demographic is more likely to be pinpointed for promotion within a company. Percentage who have left a role earlier than planned due to particular workplace issues/pressures:Percentage who have left a role earlier than planned due to particular workplace issues/pressuresBlack/British Caribbean100%White European39%Asian/British Bangladeshi100%White British24%Black/British African40%White other22%Asian/British Pakistani33%White Irish20%Asian other25%White Gypsy/traveller0%Total average57%Total average21%Percentage encouraged by a current or previous Line Manager to seek a promotion BAME participantsNon BAME participants16%84%This distinct contrast in workplace experiences amongst BAME groups compared to non-BAME groups demonstrates that professional environments could be working to manifest existing social disadvantages amongst minorities. Add to this that almost half (47%) of all respondents have never been managed by someone of BAME background, it is perhaps easier to understand why junior BAME workers are less likely to take senior positions – there simply aren’t the role models in place. These are barriers which must be broken down. Against this backdrop, there is an opportunity to implement processes and ways of working which begin to, instead, drive real social mobility amongst this demographic. Ways of working must be implemented to attract a greater pool of candidates from different ethnic backgrounds to overcome the socio-economic employment barriers that these hard-to-reach groups face. However, this must also be complemented by activity which ensures they are presented with the same promotion opportunities as other colleagues and given such positive workplace experiences that they never feel compelled to leave their role. We are working on setting a pioneering new standard within the industry to create a recruitment service which doesn’t just attract BAME talent, but which supports our clients in achieving optimum working standards, free of discrimination, to ensure talent is retained, nurtured and empowered to progress. Though this whitepaper has already explored the reasons why an employee would leave a role, our research also sought to distinguish exactly what it is that drives a BAME worker towards a job role in the first place to determine when attrition is first triggered. The below figures outline these findings: What attracts you to a role?What makes you leave a role?41% pay levels42% if I was harassed/bullied32% reputation of the organisation I’m working for39% poor company culture 31% progression opportunities 38% if I’d reached burnout (lack of energy, passion or motivation to do the job)29% proximity to home 38% if I experienced discrimination 26% attractiveness of the industry 30% if colleagues treated one another or were treated with a lack of respect19% the opportunity to secure a permanent contract 29% not being made to feel included 17% training on the job 28% if I was found to be paid less than my colleagues17% exciting elements within the role25% if I experienced racism“What these findings demonstrate is that while pay is the main driver for a person to join a business, when they are recruited their priorities actually change. “Instead, they come to value different factors, such as inclusion, respect, motivation and culture. It may be instinctive to base career decisions on elements we can measure, such as income, however, what is clear is that the immeasurable aspects to a job role are much more important in the longer term. “So, while workplaces might use pay as a tactic to attract high skilled talent, those who don’t deliver in a more emotive, personal capacity – in line with a person’s background, demographic and orientation – are at risk of high attrition levels. It is absolutely essential to create pathways for retention so that every sector works to secure its talent long term.” - Sam Price, head of client engagement the Morson Group Of the respondents who took part in the research, 40 per cent were educated to GCSE level, with just 20 per cent possessing A-levels or a degree. While 31 per cent said they had previously considered entering a traditional, professional occupation such as HR, finance or legal, 37 per cent cited ‘being unqualified’ as a factor in holding them back in their career progression. Though this portrays a perception that some technical sectors simply welcome low skilled labour, what is especially important for BAME employees is to be presented with opportunities to continually upskill in a job role, in order to retain their talent. ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations, states that the three ways to retain staff is to focus on ‘retraining’, following these three steps: Ensure that work is 'meaningful' and makes full use of an individual's skills, abilities and potential Keep work interesting and varied, providing training opportunities so that workers feel they are developing and improving Present openings for promotion, or risk driving away workers, especially younger demographics looking for career progression Based on these figures and additional research, we can now provide clients and businesses with a compelling case to better engage with BAME candidates in order to drive upward social mobility for this underrepresented and often discriminated group. However, hiring a diverse workforce is just the starting point. Instead, focus should be on creating environments where each employee can thrive, feel fulfilled and remain with the business long-term, regardless of background. Download your copy of the full whitepaper here:Find out more
The Morson Maker Space at the University of Salford is launching a new Women in Engineering Mentoring Programme. ‘Go Beyond’ aims to connect final year female students with industry professionals and will run from Feb 2021 – May 2021. Powered by Morson Group, the initiative is to cater for a select group of female students studying engineering subjects in the School of Science, Engineering and Environment (SSEE). The aims of ‘Go Beyond’ are to help students focus on the future, gain broader skills for personal or career development. The knowledge and influence of the mentor will assist the student in planning career objectives and help with gaining insight about how to step confidently into the industry. The focus is on developing the mentee professionally whilst helping to instil self-awareness, more confidence and to feel equipped to Go Beyond the University into employment. We’re thrilled that six professionals from across our Group have volunteered as mentors, dedicating their time and expertise to help promote Salford’s graduate talent, encouraging and upskilling more women into engineering roles. Morson Talent’s head of client engagement, Sam Price, Sagal Rooble, digital specialist at Waldeck and engineers Maria Williamson, Anna Davanzo and Ana Meek plus Becky Veal from Morson Projects, will be matched with students to provide one to one mentoring sessions, and take part in group webinars featuring guest talks from other mentors. Sam Price, head of client engagement, said: Our partnership with the University of Salford is a pivotal component in addressing skills shortages and the diversity imbalances of the industries we serve. The concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful, with women more likely to choose careers when they’re exposed to scenarios that they can imagine themselves in. By providing relatable role models, we aim to break down barriers and encourage more women into the field, whilst also supporting career transitioning from other sectors. The launch of the ‘Go Beyond’ mentoring scheme supports our ambition to improve role model access and visibility. On a personal level, I’m thrilled to begin mentoring as part of this scheme I hope I can share invaluable insights with my mentee that will help her to achieve her ambitions. I’m sure that I’ll also learn a lot in the process too. Dr. Maria Stukoff, Director of the Morson Maker Space, added: “We welcomed a phenomenal number of industry mentors who registered their supporting to the programme, and we’re delighted to have four mentors from the Morson Group. ‘Go Beyond’ is a real testament to our partnership with Morson and our collaborative investment to developing our talent pipeline and creating employment routes for the next generation of women in engineering.” A welcome extension to our partnership with the University of Salford, ‘Go Beyond’ also furthers our work to diversify talent pipelines across the industries in which we operate, ensuring businesses are fair and inclusive. True ED&I has real impact, not just on the lives of individuals from all walks of life, but in creating better cultures and broader empathy in workplaces across the country. We understand the complexities and opportunities of widening participation and take our commitment to this very seriously. Our latest whitepaper explores BAME representation in the workplace, shining a spotlight on experiences within technical industries, download your copy here. Morson has long-standing ties with The University of Salford, offering the Gerry Mason Excellence of Engineering Scholarship and establishing the Morson Engine Room and Morson Maker Space engineering facilities in 2019. The two facilities feature the latest industry-standard manufacturing technologies, enabling students to learn real-world engineering skills in relation to design for manufacture, assembly and inspection, allowing hands-on practical experience to be a step ahead of the average graduate. Most recently the students at the Maker Space have been developing medical visors using 3D printing in direct response to the needs of hospital staff and carers fighting Coronavirus.Find out more
Recent data analysis revealed that BAME attrition within technical sectors – aviation, construction, engineering – is double that compared to other industries. BAME workers make up almost 15 per cent (13.8%) of the audited workforce, and reasons for these individuals choosing to leave their roles, the data shows, have included experiences of discrimination. The same was true for other demographics, including LGBTQ+ and those who identify as female. To achieve our mission of creating an entirely equal and diverse workforce, these issues needed addressing.As such, we commissioned further research to truly understand the individual pain points of workers in these industries. We asked them to be frank and completely honest in their feedback so that our clients could quickly implement changes to improve working conditions for all, then develop longer-term strategies in line with people’s issues, challenges and needs, so that within five years, workplaces in these sectors are free from insult, abuse and prejudice. This whitepaper explores those findings.Aviation, nuclear, engineering and other technical sectors are complex industries which present often-challenging working environments. Each provides the opportunity to work with people from around the globe, so building a workforce that embraces diversity, and equally reflects the makeup of its user groups, communities and multicultural stakeholders, is even more critical. It’s widely accepted that organisations understand that their workforces are their most important asset and that ensuring every one of their colleagues is valued and is treated fairly, equally and respectfully, is critical to its success. However, our research reveals that discrimination is taking place across multiple industries, which is becoming a direct contributor to attrition levels – especially amongst BAME workers – making it harder to achieve true diversity. According to our research, more than a third (34%) have experienced discrimination in the workplace at a former employer, with almost one in three forced to leave a role earlier than planned due to workplace discrimination. When asked to detail their experiences, workers revealed discrimination occurred in relation to: 30% mental or physical disability 15% race14% gender11% ethnicity10% age5% sexual orientation5% religious belief or activity 5% equal pay 3% pregnancy or parenthood1% marital status When asked which of a variety of workplace issues would cause them to leave a role, key results were as follows: 42% if I was harassed/bullied39% poor company culture 38% if I’d reached burnout (lack of energy, passion or motivation to do the job)38% if I experienced discrimination 30% if colleagues treated one another or were treated with a lack of respect29% not being made to feel included 25% if I experienced racism19% lack of policies around equality, diversity and inclusion“It is unquestionable that businesses must focus on employing people who reflect the diversity of modern-day society by ultimately providing fair and supportive working environments for all, regardless of age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin, religion and more. “But what these figures portray is that organisations aren’t achieving this and what’s more, it is directly contributing to them losing talented workers. “Though many of the experiences shared in this research go back several years, they still reflect the perceptions and barriers to potential employees with diverse backgrounds from joining – or remaining within – these sectors. It’s clear that true equality must stretch beyond the traditional parameters of gender and race, with effective ED&I strategies implemented to embrace multiple hard to reach groups.” - Sam Price, head of client engagement at the Morson Group When analysed further, the data reveals a disparity in the number of people who have experienced workplace discrimination depending on whether they are a BAME colleague. On average, almost an additional fifth of BAME employees shared that they have experienced discrimination, compared to those of white backgrounds. For some ethnicities – such as Black/British Caribbean – the outcome is absolute; every single worker of this specific background has been discriminated against in a current or previous role. Percentage who have experienced discrimination in the workplace (current or previous role) Black/British Caribbean 100%White Irish 50% Asian/British Bangladeshi 67%White other 50% Asian/British Pakistani 57%White European 48% Asian other 50%White Gypsy/traveller 33% Asian/British Indian 41%White British 26% Black/British African 30% Total average 58% Total average 41.4% Unconscious bias touches every aspect of ED&I in the workplace. During talent acquisition, for example, bias has a multitude of ways of preventing a connection between a company and its potential workforce: Simple definitions within a job vacancy can easily alienate some groups by creating barriers due to the role’s requirements and descriptions Unconscious bias and prejudice from the Hiring Manager can also influence candidate evaluations and ultimate selections A company’s culture can also create bias, especially where they have a reputation for not being an inclusive place to work, which will eventually be discovered by colleagues through word of mouth, social media, company review websites like Glassdoor and other avenues To deliver on our long-term commitment towards ED&I, and in response to the research, we are working with clients to implement initiatives which welcome diverse recruits to the workplace, with the long-term view of retaining that talent to make outstanding contributions and improvements to the aviation industry. Download your copy of the full whitepaper here:Find out more
Roma Das knew from a young age that she wanted a career that involved problem solving. Now aged 54, she’s more than 30 years’ experience in programming and software development, with jobs in industries such as aerospace, telecoms, housing and, most recently, for ITV. She puts her successful career down to an early love of maths, and a dedication to stick to her passion – even if it wasn’t a stereotypical path for a young girl. "I’m very good at maths – it’s logical and involves problem solving and that’s what I excel at. I knew I wanted to take it further and move into software and programming, but it wasn’t a huge area at the time. I found an O-Level in computing and decided to go for it because I thought it would be similar to maths. It turned out to be very different but still tapped into my love of puzzles and trying to find solutions to challenges. I continued my studies, doing courses in maths and computer science and did a module on Oracle SQL. It taught me the basics in programming, and I learnt even more at the University of Salford where I studied for three years, which enabled me to start a career in IT.”Living with dwarfism, Roma had reservations about how she would be treated in the workplace – not just as someone with a disability, but as a female in her field. However, every team she’s worked in has given her the support she needed to thrive. “When I started applying for jobs in IT, I was worried that my dwarfism would be a problem. My view was that, as I’m not customer facing, it wouldn’t be a problem. But I absolutely love talking to customers and I wanted to do more of it. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to work with employers who don’t see my disability – or me being a female – as an issue and who have given me the opportunity to be public facing as and when I want to be. What I’ve learnt is that often, the issue is more of a personal one, and it centres on your own apprehension about how you might be perceived. Whereas, in reality, people are accepting and treat you fairly.That’s not to say that other women don’t face challenges or barriers in this industry – they absolutely do. I’ve not experienced it myself, but I have witnessed it, especially for women aiming for senior positions. It’s troubling that it still happens in this day and age when there has been so much progression.”Roma has experience working for companies such as Cable & Wireless, Akcros Chemicals and CSC where she supported such clients as BAE Systems, BNFL to name just two. She has also worked with some of the world’s most innovating software platforms. “I enjoy being given a problem to solve, and either helping to build a new system from scratch or improving an existing system by making it work better, harder or faster. I’ve been integral to some amazing projects for software that’s used around the world, such as a bespoke screening system for flight information that’s used currently in Panama. There’s no satisfaction like seeing your own invention work in the way you wanted it to and making a difference to the way a place functions.“I recently joined ITV where I am currently supporting existing applications and databases that hold a variety of information about ITV programmes – it’s extremely interesting as I can relate my work to the programmes I watch. I’ll also be involved in any future application or database development too.” As she continues to progress in her new role, she wants to share advice with other young women considering a future in a typically male-dominated industry.“Don’t think that because a sector is traditionally male-orientated, that you can’t be part of it. And when you make yourself part of it, stay true to yourself. Many women start thinking like a man in order to become part of the team, but we have such fantastic qualities just as we are, there is no need to change. “I’m a softly spoken person, but I don’t sit back; I approach people as my equal, just as I would expect them to treat me. It’s not a man’s world – it’s anyone’s world, so be yourself and simply by excelling in your job, you’ll play your part to create change for future women who come along after you.” Take a look at our latest opportunities in engineering, manufacturing, construction, professional services and more by visiting our jobs boardFind out more
With top talent in short supply and competition for roles intensifying, it’s crucial that organisations around the globe understand, attract, engage and retain a skilled and diverse workforce. Failing to do so could see a business miss out on great colleagues, enhanced productivity and numerous other proven competitive advantages. In fact, the very survival of many companies and major projects hinges on its ability to create inclusive and equal environments where a diverse team of people can truly thrive and reach their full potential. As talent solutions specialists, we at the Morson Group have witnessed first-hand the benefits of equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) in business and we work in partnership with clients around the world to challenge traditional stereotypes and misconceptions to lead this conversation. We support our clients’ ED&I commitments, strategies and core values when we are appointed to fulfil their requirement for contingent and temporary workers, by providing them with access to key management information, including spend, worker profiles, numbers and attrition rates, whilst delivering cost efficiencies and attracting talent to essential roles. Together, we are focused on achieving success by supporting clients in consciously building and retaining inclusive teams, recognising the unique value, skills and contribution that every individual brings to its workplace, and encouraging its people to be themselves – whoever they are. Recent data analysis revealed that BAME attrition within technical sectors – aviation, construction, engineering – is double that compared to other industries. BAME workers make up almost 15 per cent (13.8%) of the audited workforce, and reasons for these individuals choosing to leave their roles, the data shows, have included experiences of discrimination. The same was true for other demographics, including LGBTQ+ and those who identify as female. To achieve our mission of creating an entirely equal and diverse workforce, these issues needed addressing. As such, we commissioned further research to truly understand the individual pain points of workers in these industries. We asked them to be frank and completely honest in their feedback so that our clients could quickly implement changes to improve working conditions for all, then develop longer-term strategies in line with people’s issues, challenges and needs, so that within five years, workplaces in these sectors are free from insult, abuse and prejudice. This whitepaper explores those findings. “With 50 years’ experience in recruitment, we enable our clients to tackle their talent needs, with a diverse, equal and inclusive workforce being very much part of this labour strategy. By perfecting diversity-focused talent programmes within our own group of companies, we play a vital part in rolling these initiatives out across our client portfolio – many of whom operate in some of the least diverse sectors. This creates increasingly diverse worker populations that continue to meet business-critical needs and demands, whilst challenging status quos. “Talent is the ultimate criteria for success. We want to ensure we are providing diverse workforces with the opportunities to aim high by working in collaboration with our clients to help create safe, friendly and supportive places to work. Ultimately, providing a working environment and recruitment service which welcomes everyone with open arms – whoever they are and whoever they want to be.” - Adrian Adair, COO at the Morson Group COVID-19 and the BAME demographicThe past 12 months have presented significant challenges for the global population. Never in our lifetime have we all been so vastly affected by the same single source. When very little was known about the Coronavirus – in the first months of 2020, when it initially hit our shores – there was guidance on how different demographics might be affected by the disease, but it mostly centred on age; the older you were, the more susceptible to the illness. However, trends soon began to emerge which demonstrated that the BAME community was at higher risk of infection, serious illness and even fatality. Scientific studies aimed to distinguish whether it was a genetic disposition, but ongoing research revealed that this was largely the case because of the already widely established, deep-rooted inequalities the BAME community faces, and has faced for generations. As Public Health England described it, ‘the social and structural determinants of health disparities.’ Research revealed : The highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of White ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males) People of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death when compared to people of White British ethnicity People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean and Other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50 per cent higher risk of death when compared to White British Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups In relation to the last point, this is the first time that existing, societal inequality has led to a higher death rate amongst the BAME community. The Government’s report stated: “Risk of dying among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was also higher in males than females; higher in those living in the more deprived areas than those living in the least deprived; and higher in those in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups than in White ethnic groups. These inequalities largely replicate existing inequalities in mortality rates in previous years, except for BAME groups, as mortality was previously higher in White ethnic groups.” Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said regarding these findings:“The insights make for humbling reading. The clear message from stakeholders was the requirement for tangible actions, provided at scale and pace, with a commitment to address the underlying factors of inequality.” Because not only was the data highlighting that existing inequality made BAME individuals more susceptible to this deadly disease, but it showed it had the capability to exacerbate inequality even further and drive greater division in our society. Selbie then set out a seven-point action plan, with recommendations on the steps that could be taken to mitigate the risks posed to BAME individuals in the COVID-age. Within this, was guidance for employers which stated that – at a national level – we must: ‘Accelerate the development of culturally competent occupational risk assessment tools that can be employed in a variety of occupational settings and used to reduce the risk of a worker’s exposure to and acquisition of COVID-19, especially for key workers working with a large cross section of the general public or in contact with those infected with COVID-19.’ It is unknown how long COVID-19 will be present in our lives. Whether a vaccine eradicates its existence is yet to be seen but there are claims among scientists that it is set to be part of our lives forever, even if we can immunise against its most severe effects. This stark reality means employers of BAME individuals have an additional responsibility to ensure workers of this demographic are provided with equal, inclusive places to work where background isn’t a determining factor of their progress and success. When even a virus appears able to discriminate, we must empower BAME colleagues with everything they need to eradicate other inequalities from their lives. A diverse and fair working environment should be a given. Download your copy of the full whitepaper here:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892376/COVID_stakeholder_engagement_synthesis_beyond_the_data.pdfFind out more
At Morson, we are committed to improving the diversity of our company and building inclusive cultures every day. Not only is this good for business, but it’s also the right thing to do. We aim to be a truly 21st-century workforce, where everyone’s talents are welcomed, valued and nurtured.As a key part of our 2021 diversity and inclusion strategy, we're thrilled to announce that Morson, has once again joined leading companies from a range of sectors and industries in signing the Inclusive Culture Pledge for a further year in 2021, an initiative managed by diversity consultancy The EW Group. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are becoming increasingly important for both employers and employees. Research has shown that diverse businesses are 35% more likely to financially outperform their industry’s national average. For potential job hunters, 67% now consider a diverse workforce is an important factor when considering job offers.By signing up to the Pledge, we will again have the support of the EW Group, a specialist in diversity and inclusion. Throughout the year, our colleagues will benefit from a year of dedicated support on five key aspects of diversity development: Leadership, People, Brand, Data and Future. Together this will provide a focus for building our skills, awareness, confidence and maturity around workplace diversity over the course of 2021. In doing so, we are making a commitment, internally and outwardly, to the lasting importance of diversity and inclusion to our company culture. Joining the Pledge is a public commitment that we take diversity and inclusion seriously and that we understand the need to provide our employees with a safe, fair and supportive place to work. We’re looking forward to the events provided as part of the Pledge, which will build our internal capacity and ensure we work at the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion. This is an initiative that we believe will benefit our colleagues, customers and stakeholders.For more information visit https://theewgroup.comFind out more
Some people know what career they want from an early age, others follow in the footsteps of their parents, while many of us become settled when our skills meet opportunity. The latter has proven true for Charlie-Lea Fitzpatrick. After playing for Everton FC Ladies when she was younger, the Liverpool local chose to pack her bags and travel to the other side of the world for a year, before returning to England and her family and friends back home. Before flying out to Oz, Charlie-Lea had spent 11 months working as a sports massage therapist, but after coming back she chose to become a Trespass and Vandalism Patroller (TVP) with Vital Human Resources after desiring something completely new from her career. “I’d never worked in the rail industry before and hadn’t thought about doing so; I just knew I wanted a change and found something I liked.” That was Charlie-Lea’s response when I asked her why she decided to make such a change after spending a year as a massage therapist. “I wanted a change and when I found out about the chance to work in the rail industry and hearing about Real Skills and the PTS (Personal Track Safety) training, I knew I had to go for it. I went with another female TVP member to complete the training, which did feature a number of other females. The trainer was lovely and really helpful, he made us feel at ease. After the course, I’ve gone on to experience lots of interesting projects before now focusing on trespass and vandalism prevention. There are a few different things we do, and there are two of us working together. We’ll get sent to various lines to check on things, and you might have a group of youths who shouldn’t be there that we have to deal with, for example. Sometimes it might be people vandalising bits around the lines and we’ve been trained for that. There are also vulnerable people, and we’re trained to approach them too and how to get the BTP (British Transport Police) involved.” Charlie-Lea is rightly proud of the work herself and other TVP members carry out up and down the country’s rail network. Both in terms of operational safety and smooth running of lines, the role is incredibly important. TVP staff spend around 160,000 combined hours patrolling our rail network. The work they do keeps both the public and freight moving around Britain and more importantly, they save lives. Back in 2018, we reported that as part of Operation Regatta — a joint partnership between Network Rail, BTP and ATOC — our trespass and vandalism patrollers helped reduce suicide rates in the Thameslink area by 53%, which translates as more than 50 life-saving interventions. Importantly, Charlie-Lea believes improved diversity within the rail industry may well play an outsized role in helping to save even more lives. “I definitely think when people who are unstable see a woman approaching them, it does make them feel calmer." Understandably, Charlie-Lea wants to see more people like her consider working within rail as a potential career move. “More girls should get into this work because it’s such a good feeling to be able to help people and having more diversity on track can only be a good thing.” Click here to read about how Katie moved from a successful career in banking management into the rail industryFind out more