Diversity and Inclusion

Creating Inclusive Teams | Rainbow Laces Campaign


Rainbow Laces for Safety Boots - creating inclusive teams in rail

Our rail infrastructure is the framework which unites the UK. An exciting and varied industry, its clients and projects offer a wealth of employment opportunities for people of all backgrounds. That includes lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people.

You’ll find people in your everyday lives who are out and open about their sexual orientation and gender identity. These individuals feel supported and empowered to work within our diverse industry. This is often down to the hard work of colleagues and role models at all levels of organisations. However, many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people continue to feel (and expect) that the rail industry, may not welcome them. They often feel that it’s best to keep that part of themselves private or worry that people might react badly if they are found out. Gender stereotypes, bullying at school and a lack of visible LGBT role models create barriers which prevent young people and adults from being themselves and applying for roles within our sector.

You have the power to be a positive influence in your working environment. Our rainbow laces for safety boots campaign is to demonstrate our support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in our industry.

When people feel like they can be open with those around them they perform better and can stop wasting energy hiding who they are.


The Government estimates 3.9 million people or 6% of the population identify as lesbian, gay or bi in the UK. It is estimated that 650,000 people, or 1% of the population identify as trans in Great Britain. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people come from all communities and backgrounds including people of different faiths, people with disabilities and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.


Lesbian, gay, bi and trans (or LGBT) people are often talked about as one group. But there are important differences. The terms lesbian, gay and bi describe some people’s ‘sexual orientation’.

  • Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person.
  • Lesbian refers to a woman who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards women.
  • Gay refers to a man who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards men. It is also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality, and some women identify as gay rather than lesbian.
  • Bi (or bi) refers to a person who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards more than one gender.
  • The term trans describes some people’s ‘gender identity’. We are assigned a sex at birth (male or female) but our gender identity is our internal sense of our gender (male, female, something else). Our gender identity may, or may not, sit comfortably with the sex we are assigned at birth.
  • Trans is a word that describes people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Trans woman describes someone who was assigned male at birth but whose gender identity is female.
  • Trans man describes someone who was assigned female at birth but whose gender identity is male.
  • Non-binary is an umbrella term for a person whose gender identity does not fit naturally into the generic categories of male and female.

Pronouns are words we use to refer to people’s gender in conversation. For example, ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people prefer gender neutral language like they/their or alternatively ze/zir. Asking someone which pronouns they prefer helps you avoid making assumptions and potentially getting it wrong. It also gives the person the opportunity to tell you what they prefer. If you make a mistake, apologise, correct yourself and move on. Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people use a variety of terms to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the terms people use may change over time.


Sexual orientation refers to a person’s emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person.

Gender reassignment refers to anyone who is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. The law protects individuals from discrimination and companies should support anyone taking steps to ‘reassign their sex’ (or transition), whether those steps are ‘social’ (e.g. changing their name and pronoun, the way they look or dress) or ‘medical’ (e.g. hormone treatment, surgery).

The other characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, and sex.



What is it?

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language include jokes, ’banter’ or abuse that is negative or disrespectful towards LGBT people. It can also be language that reinforces negative stereotypes. Anyone perceived to be ‘different’ can become a target of this language even if they aren’t themselves lesbian, gay, bi or trans. Homophobic language includes phrases like ‘That’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’; when people use gay to mean something’s rubbish or bad. This also includes terms of abuse like ‘faggot’, ‘fairy’ ‘poof’, ‘dyke’ or ‘lezza’ intended to be offensive about gay men and lesbians.

Biphobic language is anything that is offensive or undermining of bisexuality. For example, calling someone ‘greedy’, saying ‘they’re going through a phase’ or ‘why can’t they make their mind up and just come out as gay’.

What's the problem?

Transphobic language and attitudes include using words like ‘it’ or ‘heshe’ about trans people; refusing to use the pronoun someone has asked you to use or their correct name in conversation to cause intentional hurt is transphobic; saying things like ‘are you a man or a woman?’ or ‘you’re not a real man/woman’ as well as making inappropriate comments about a trans person’s body, medical history or gender identity.

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language in the workplace is a problem because:

  • It gives the impression that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is wrong or shameful
  • It often makes individuals uncomfortable, preventing them from being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with colleagues. This can negatively affect how people perform and reduce their involvement
  • It can lead to more serious incidents of bullying and encourages prejudice against anyone who is seen as being ‘different’ or assumed to be LGBT

Key point: ‘Banter’ is harmful and always needs to be challenged.


Stereotyping about sexual orientation, gender and gender identity affects who feels welcome in the workplace. Often these stereotypes are about reinforcing what forms of masculinity or femininity are seen as acceptable, and impacts all people, not just those who are LGBT.

Gender stereotypes reinforce prejudice towards anyone who behaves or expresses themselves outside of what’s considered ‘normal’. An example of this is using expressions like ‘man up’ or ‘don’t be such a girl’

The idea of difference about lesbian, gay or bi individuals in workplace often focus on how they don’t fit traditional gender norms or gender roles in society. For example, to be a ‘real’ man you are masculine and strong, and to be a ‘real’ woman you are feminine and emotional.

Examples include:

  • Gay or bi men are effeminate, weak and hate dirty jobs.
  • Lesbians or bi women are masculine.
  • Members of the LGBTQ community are trying to convert others.
  • Using stereotypes like these both prevent people from being themselves in the workplace and send the message that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is unwelcome or abnormal.

Use gender neutral language and avoid stereotypes about what is masculine or feminine behaviour.

Always challenge language, behaviour or ‘banter’ that is offensive to lesbian, gay, bi and transpeople.

Make sure it’s as unacceptable as other types of behaviour, like racism or religious intolerance, and communicate this to team members.

Be approachable as a supervisor and make the effort to find out more about local organisations and groups that offer support to LGBT young people or adults.

Challenge positively. Use questions and explain why and how someone’s words and actions have an impact.

Wear your rainbow laces with PRIDE.

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    Morson Embrace Latest Technology to Ensure Our Website is Accessible to People Living with Dyslexia. Ross, MD at ReciteMe Explains Its Importance

    ACCESSIBILITY | 5 MIN READ We are proud to have implemented the latest technology to ensure our website is accessible to those living with dyslexia. Ross, ReciteMe’s MD who also has dyslexia chats about why the Morson accessibility journey is so important for job seekers. Find out how over 3000 people have used our accessibility software to find their next role. At the start of the year, we began our accessibility journey by adding the Recite Me accessibility software to our website to ensure our online recruitment process is accessible to everyone. To find out more about the importance of accessibility in recruitment and learn more about the story behind Recite Me, we spoke to Ross, Managing Director. Ross discovered he had dyslexia when he was 22 and the president of a student union - completely finished education. His story inspired him to create Recite Me to ensure that there are no barriers to success for people with disabilities. How does dyslexia affect your day to day life? “One thing is I’m always late for things and that is a very classic dyslexia sign, the judgement of time tends to be off all the way through to the obvious ones really like I read much slower and have a tendency to lose interest in reading much quicker. Another one is my attention span, no meetings in our business last longer than 20 minutes because you’ve got 20 minutes with me until I start looking out of the window and admiring the birds flying by!” Around 10 to 15 per cent of people in the world have dyslexia or another learning difficulty. In the UK that figure currently stands at around 15 per cent. This means that one in every 6.7 people in this country has dyslexia or another learning difficulty. Does your dyslexia ever affect you at work? If so, in what instance? “Reading for me is like cycling uphill. I can do it, but eventually I’ll get exhausted. That’s why it’s so important for people to have a piece of accessibility software like Recite Me. If I change the colour of the screen and my background colour is yellow and the text is blue, I read 25% faster and I don’t get tired of reading as much.” To find out more about our partnership with Recite Me, click here. What can businesses do differently to make their websites more inclusive to people with dyslexia? “One of the most important things is the individual company’s ownership of the adjustment. When the Disability Discrimination Act came in there were companies taking ownership and putting in ramps but when it came to dyslexia and visual impairment, they were still relying on people to buy their own software.” “So, what I would say to companies is to take ownership. What can you do to make your content more accessible?” Since we implemented Recite Me onto our website in February, we have had nearly 3,000 people use the software to browse our website and find a job, opening up our services to a much wider talent pool who may not have been able to use our website before What adjustments can employers make to the application process to make it easier for people living with dyslexia? “This might go against a lot of company’s policies but generally assessment centres don’t work well for people with dyslexia. It kind of prays on everything that a dyslexic person isn’t good at. It’s time-based restrictions, it’s a lot of reading, writing and forced scenarios in an unnatural environment. If there is a person who has dyslexia the best thing to do is to pre-plan how that adjustment is going to be.” Watch the full video below To find out more about our Morson Equals Opportunities campaign, click here. Or click the 'Accessibility tools' button on our homepage to search our latest jobs using ReciteMe.

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    Salford Trailblazers attend USA/UK Industry STEM Dinner!

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    Championing Diversity on Track | Safety Matters

    SAFETY MATTERS | 4 MIN READ Morson International sponsor Women in Rail's mentoring programme. Our pledge to double the number of female contractors by 2020 has risen from 7.5% to 13.8% within the past 12 months. We speak to Gary Smithson, Associate Director at Morson International to find out more. We are committed to improving diversity, inclusion and equality across all sectors in which we operate. So, in addition to pledging to double the number of female engineers that we employ by 2020, which has already risen from 7.5% to 13.8% within the past 12 months, we are proud to announce Morson International as a sponsor of Women in Rail’s mentoring programme. The nine-month programme accurately matches aspiring female mentees with successful mentors from across the rail industry to guarantee success, by moulding and accelerating a diverse talent pool. In order to champion diverse thinking, cross-fertilisation of ideas and boost networks within the UK rail sector, the programme matches mentees with a mentor from another business based on their location, personal interests, technical skills and experience. Now in its fifth year, Women in Rail aims to build on in its 260 pairs established in 2017, a considerable increase on the first 12 matches back in 2014, by collaborating with Moving Ahead: a specialist company behind the mentoring programmes in some of the UK’s largest and most well-known businesses.Gary Smithson, associate director for Morson International, said: “We’ve been a big supporter and champion of Women in Rail for a number of years, including their annual awards and Big Rail Diversity Challenge.” “Diversity is good for the industry and if we’re to reap the same commercial rewards as other, more diverse sectors, then we must address the issues within our own sector in order to rebalance gender ratios.” “This programme is a fantastic avenue to develop and harness some of the best female talent within our industry, gain valuable insights on what holds females back from entering rail professions and share best practice on retaining great people. Diversity is an issue that’s affecting our entire sector and one that we’re working on together with our clients and supply chain to make sure we are doing everything that we can to overcome.” “We have so many talented, intelligent and ambitious females working throughout our rail operations and will be placing a number of these on the 2018 mentoring programme to give them the additional skills and attributes to reach their full potential.” Read more about how we’re changing behaviours on track here. Adelne Ginn, general counsel at Angel Trains and founder of Women in Rail, added: “We are delighted to have launched our “repowered” Mentoring Programme this year, which looks at matching mentors to mentees from across the rail industry. Mentoring involves developing an individual to achieve their full potential and in turn, believe in themselves.” “Our programme has been designed to encourage the next generation to champion diversity in the rail industry and evolve to support men, as well as women, transport as well as rail and women internally as well as across the UK. We could not have done this without your support as sponsors, so thank you from all at Women in Rail.” Download our latest issue of Safety Matters to read more about everything from health and safety innovation and project wins to top tips and case studies. Or, to search for our latest jobs, click here.

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And with that our open doors become open minds and we can deliver business improvement from the top down by empowering change from the bottom up.” He finished with a key take away to keep in mind during the whole event… “We are all equal thinkers, that there is no monopoly on innovation and importantly that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” The North West Diversity Forum is run by The Clear Company, a diversity and inclusion consultancy business who help bring diversity issues to light. To kick off the event we discussed what the attendees would like to get out of the session, from improving diversity in their company to having a personal interest, it was clear that everyone had one aim in common – to learn more and share ideas. 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    Morson’s Accessibility Software Helps 3062 People on Their Path to Success

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    Inspiring Diversity and Inclusion in Construction

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Several students also took part in a panel session led by Julian Buttery, senior employer engagement manager at the Careers and Enterprise Company, where they talked about their experiences in the sector. “Lots of teachers don’t know a lot about the construction sector and the available roles,” said University of Salford student Racheal Umunna. There was much discussion around attracting more young people into the industry, as well as how to educate teachers, careers advisers and parents about the breadth of career opportunities available in construction. “In Europe engineers are classed with doctors and surgeons and given a higher social profile than they are in this country,” panellist Neil Conlon, business development manager at Conlon Construction told delegates. The conference was rounded off with a session led by Joscelyne Shaw, director of the strategy at Mates in Mind, a charity which was set up to raise awareness, address the stigma of poor mental health and promote positive mental wellbeing in construction and related industries across the UK. Outlining Mates in Minds’ achievements and the work that it has done since it was set up two years ago, she focused on promoting cultures of positive wellbeing throughout the industry. She told delegates that 3 out of 5 employees experience mental health issues because of work and talked about changing behaviours. The Summit was supported by British Board of Agrément, CABE, the CIOB, easy-trim, Housing Diversity Network, the National Association of Women in Construction, Procure Plus, Redrow Homes and RICS. As well as attending the conference, delegates had the chance to talk to a diverse selection of companies, which were showcasing their work in the exhibition space. 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    Women in Engineering Day | How Role Models Can Help #TransformTheFuture

    “The concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful” - Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO. Today marks International Women in Engineering Day, an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. The theme for 2019 is #TransformTheFuture. As we at Morson celebrate our 50th year in business, the Women's Engineering Society (WES) is celebrating 100 years in the UK. Adrian Adair is Morson's chief operating officer and a Northern Power Women role model. One of the key ways Morson is helping to #TransformTheFuture is through role modelling. On International Women in Engineering Day he speaks about the importance of role models in senior leadership and why they are vital to encourage women to realise their potential. Operating in traditionally male-dominated sectors, the Morson Group has long been a vocal contributor to the gender diversity conversation. Women remain underrepresented in certain sectors, such as Tech and Engineering, and whilst progress is being made, there is still plenty of unlocked potential out there. Regardless of the industry, we strive to attract the best talent for our customers, and a more diverse and rich pool is fundamental to that. Dated stereotypes still depict engineering, and other technical careers, as a man’s domain; and this is exactly what we are challenging by showcasing the great female talent that we already have. The more we can do to increase the visibility of women in technical roles, the more likely a school leaver will consider STEM a viable career path. The concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful, with studies showing that female students are more likely to choose particular careers when they’re exposed to situations and scenarios where they can imagine themselves in their shoes. ​​Our ‘Inclusive Role Models’ campaign uses video and written interviews to showcase inspirational females from all walks of life, who demonstrate the variety of roles available and the many different routes into engineering. By providing relatable role models to the younger generation to look up to, and take inspiration from, we hope to break down some of the barriers and encourage more women into the field; whilst also providing a positive platform to encourage career transitioning from females already working in other sectors. Morson is also a Girls’ Network partner, having helped to launch their Salford division. The Girls’ Network empowers young females from the least advantaged communities to be ambitious and reach their aspirations by matching them with a positive female mentor, and some of the Morson team are now acting as mentors as part of the initiative. Role models must also be diverse if we’re to truly champion inclusion and challenge the status quo. Within the Morson Group, we partner our mentees with like-minded senior mentors. Rather than being gender-based, these partnerships are carefully selected to deliver real collaboration, which within our own business, is helping us to improve female representation among our senior management teams, and in the future, at board level. Openly sharing and challenging your weaknesses and capitalising on your strengths, especially from a male perspective, is extremely powerful and works to break down any prejudice and barriers to success. As senior leaders, it’s important that we use our position to drive the gender diversity conversation, to run campaigns, and to show that there are plenty of opportunities out there for women, particularly in industries such as tech, science, and engineering. Visit our Inclusive Role Models hub here #TransformTheFuture

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    InterEngineering | Dr Mark McBride-Wright On LGBTQ+ In Engineering

    MORSON BLOG | 5 MIN READ Morson hosted the North West Diversity Forum at head office in May 2019 We spoke to Dr Mark McBride-Wright, founder of EqualEngineers and InterEngineering and expert in LGBTQ+ issues In May 2019, Morson hosted the NorthWest Diversity Forum along with Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and Clear Company. The event bought together a number of individuals from organisations like JLL, Shop Direct and Royal London to share key learnings and best practices. Among the guests was founder of EqualEngineers and InterEngineering, Dr Mark McBridge-Wright, an expert in LGBTQ+ diversity. We spoke to Mark about setting up InterEngineering and his thoughts on LGBTQ+ issues within the engineering sector: When did you decide to set up InterEngineering? I set up EqualEngineers in 2017 to connect inclusive employers with diverse talent and technology. I used to work as a tech Safety Engineer in industry and in 2013 after I’d finished my PhD, I got interested in diversity and inclusion, but I realised that the conversation around diversity and inclusion was very skewed towards cisgender women in engineering. Being a gay man, I thought there was a need for an organisation that would provide a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity specifically. It’s a hidden identity and it’s something that’s a bit awkward to talk about so I felt like it needed that spotlight. I set up a professional network called InterEngineering. That organisation is now five years old and we’ve got about 1,000 engineers in our membership. We’re active in five regional groups across the UK, one of which is here in the North West and I have about 20 engineers that support me with the running of the organisation. What sort of things does InterEngineering do? We do outreach to schools and speak at universities. We get invited by LGBTQ+ university societies to sit on panels and talk at pride events. That’s where my network of volunteers will give up their time to talk about their career as an engineer and try and encourage them to move into engineering rather than banking or any other highly numerate profession. What are the biggest challenges facing the engineering sector in terms of diversity? I think the biggest challenge that the engineering sector faces is overcoming the ‘them and us’ culture that’s so pervasive in all our organisations – the mindset of the majority engineer that thinks there’s some threat from the advancement of underrepresented groups, that they’re going to lose their job potentially or forego a promotion because we need to create more equality. I think we need to get to a place where people realise the business benefits that diversity brings – financial and increased performance – but also on a team level. I think we get caught up in this ‘us and them’ culture and it can stall us in making any progress. That’s why, cornerstone to how I do my consultancy is linking diversity and inclusion to health, safety and wellbeing, in particular mental health. Helping men be vulnerable in the workplace and women be assertive in the workplace. It’s having the space where we’re not confined to the norms of the gender we are and have a working environment where people can just be themselves. I think to achieve that we need to strategically work at the mental health and wellbeing place and we’re only just starting to do that in engineering. Find out more about our commitment to diversity across sectors here

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    Anna Delvecchio Honoured with Prestigious Award by The London Transport Museum

    INDUSTRY NEWS | 4 MIN READ Anna Delvecchio awarded prestigious award by the London Transport Museum A long time associate of the business, Anna awarded her first ever contract to Morson while working at Railtrack Morson would like to offer congratulations to Amey's Commercial Account Director and long-time associate of Morson, Anna Delvecchio, on her reciept of her unique recognition from the Rail Supply Group at the London Transport Museum. Chairman of Network Rail and museum trustee Sir Peter Hendry and Rail Minister Andrew Jones unveiled a portrait of Anna at a Rail Supply Group reception, with her picture now hanging in the museum to inspire future generations of female engineers and transport professionals. She has also been made a patron of the London Transport Museum. The prestigious accolade was presented in honour of Anna's working both in developing the Rail Sector Deal and her leading work promoting diversity and inclusion across the industry. Speaking to the Swindon Advertiser, Chairman of Network Rail and museum trustee Sir Peter Hendry said "I am absolutely delighted for Anna and she fully deserves her place in history. We need more women in the transport profession. Her leading role in securing the Rail Sector Deal and promoting diversity and inclusion is an inspiration to all." Anna's first role was as a buyer for Railtrack, with the first contract she ever awarded being to Morson Group. In 2018, she was a guest panellist at the Morson Diversity and Leadership Exchange held at Morson head office alongside Morson diversity ambassador and Northern Power Women CEO Simone Roche, Stonewall Client Account Manager Alex Rodick and Morson COO Adrian Adair. Morson Managing Director Dr. Kevin Gorton said "I've known Anna for over 20 years now and we're delighted that she's received this recognition. It's been great to watch her career develop from the first time we worked with her back with Railtrack and she remains a good friend to both myself and Ged Mason. I'd like to offer my personal congratulations to her for this award and wish her all the best for the future." Anna said "I remember those early days well! It's great to see Morson go from strength to strength as they celebrate 50 years. Congratulations to Ged, Kevin and the wider team. The late Gerry Mason would be very proud!" Anna started her career journey as an engineering apprentice at just 15-years-old. By the age of 30 she had become Commercial Director for Amey RDG, a supplier of consulting and infrastructure support for clients including Transport for London. During a 20-year-long career, she has held a number of senior commercial and supply chain roles, including negotiating major upgrade contracts for Network Rail. In 2018, she was awarded the Woman of the Year Award at the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, impressing the jury with her support for women across transport and logistics, supporting young women with professional and personal growth through workshops and working with organisations like the National Skills Academy for Rail. Congratulations Anna from Ged, Kevin and the whole of Morson Group. Find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion here

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    Adrian Adair, Morson COO is Featured in Recruiter Magazine Discussing How Morson Uses Video and Content to Attract Top Talent

    THOUGHT LEADERSHIP | 2 MIN READ Adrian Adair, Morson Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) is featured in Recruiter Magazine. Find out how recruiters successfully recruit in their own business. In the latest issue of Recruiter Magazine, Adrian Adair, Morson Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) discusses how recruiters successfully recruit in their own business. Read on to find out about Morson’s talent attraction techniques using mixed media and omnichannel campaigns to gain a competitive edge. Recruiters are experts in sourcing the best talent for their clients, but what happens when they need to recruit top-notch recruiters to find and hire the best talent? In today’s job-rich, candidate-poor environment the competition for attracting the best candidates is fierce and so companies are required to think out of the box… Adrian Adair, Chief Operating Officer at Morson Group, agrees that video and content are the way to attract new talent, saying: “Competition for talent is growing, meaning employers must embrace different ways of searching for and attracting good people. At Morson, we use video, quality content and our own people to tell our Group story, whilst also widening our search for potential candidates by connecting with untapped talent pools. Return to work parents is a great example, with us helping mums and dads to overcome the challenges of balancing a career with family responsibilities by being flexible and agile.” To really sell the role you must ensure that candidates buy into the company and want to work for the brand. Having videos and testimonials highlighting what it’s really like to work at the company along with content that explains some of the benefits, will help to improve the candidate experience and enhance your reputation. Although many recruitment leaders debate whether it’s best to hire talent from inside or outside of the industry, Morson Group focuses on hiring a variety of talent, as Adair explains: “We have seen a real growing trend in the number of niche recruitment consultants joining our business, as the market increasingly craves industry specialists and technical expertise from people who understand what makes them tick. Whatever the role, from our apprentices right through to the board, we seek out people who want to be part of our business’ purpose and ambition” Recruiters are often required to work over a variety of sectors which is why recruiting talent who have a varied background works so well. The art is getting the balance right and have a mix of both new and emerging talent and experienced recruitment consultants to lead the way. Are you ready for a career change? Search our latest jobs here.

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    Morson and J Murphy & Sons Proudly Sponsor Women in Rail #TransformTheFuture Event

    DIVERSITY & INCLUSION | 3 MIN READ Morson was delighted to sponsor the Women in Rail #TransformTheFuture event last month. Representatives from J Murphy & Sons spoke about how they made tangible improvements to their policies, working environments and marketing collateral to deliver an inclusive and accessible working environment. In partnership with J Murphy & Sons, Morson was delighted to sponsor the Women in Rail #TransformTheFuture event last month. To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, Women in Rail’s North West Group welcomed like-minded attendees to the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester to promote great initiatives and share ideas to encourage more women to consider a career in engineering and construction. Organised by Women in Rail’s North West branch representatives; Jennifer McKinney, Head of Rail Infrastructure at Keolis Amey Metrolink, Daniela Cardoso, Senior Earthworks Asset Engineer at Network Rail and Claire Cronin, Head of Access & Integration at J Murphy & Sons. Representatives from J Murphy & Sons spoke about how they made tangible improvements to their policies, working environments and marketing collateral to deliver an inclusive and accessible working environment. These changes included the use of diverse imagery across all J Murphy & Son’s media, CV anonymisation and unconscious bias training. Their London head office even has gender-neutral toilets. Alastair Smyth, Managing Director of Engineering and Specialist Businesses, at J Murphy & Sons reinforced how it will be the collective force of organisations which will help to realise transformational change within the engineering and construction industry. In turn, we will deliver and retain diverse workforces which are representative of the communities in which they serve. Key learnings Inspiring future generations There is a lot being done by organisations to inspire future generations into STEM. The Girls’ Network, an organisation which inspires and empowers young women from disadvantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of leading female role models, encouraged attendees to get involved with their mentoring scheme. The importance of role modelling, highlighted by the Girl’s Network and Women Who Wonder, was reiterated by many of the panel members. Personal accounts from both panel’s detailed the positive and negative influence that female peers and those in senior leadership teams can have, demonstrating that role models are essential at every stage of a young person’s career. Role modelling will play an essential role in helping to encourage a diverse, next generation of talent into engineering, particularly considering that children in reception classes now could be working on the second phase of HS2. The wider talent pool Secondly, management as a skill is so important. It isn’t necessarily the best technical person who is best equipped to lead a team. This demonstrates the need to look at the whole talent pool to address the skills shortage, not just emergent talent (school and university leavers). It’s essential for companies to think about implementing mid-career apprenticeships, returner programmes and training which focuses on the individual if the industry wants to attract and retain a diverse workforce. We need to promote positive action to widen the available talent pool such as introducing inclusive PPE, diverse imagery, gender-neutral language, clean welfare vans and most importantly, educate our co-workers about changing team dynamics as the makeup of their team changes. TOP BLOG | From Girl Guides to Diversity Champion | Sorrel Chats About Her Aspirations, Maintaining a Work/Life Balance and Her Career in A Male-Dominated Industry Commenting on the success of the event, Gary Smithson, Associate Director said: “What really struck me about this great event was the diversity of the audience with regards to gender split (60/40 female to male) and age range. For us, promoting role models and profiling successful women in the industry is a key factor in creating a more diverse workforce and inspiring future generations. I have seen first-hand a shift in the recognition of diversity amongst organisations, which is hopefully a signifier of real change." For more information on Morson's commitment to diversity check out our Inclusive Role Models series. Or to find your next opportunity search jobs here.

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    Is enough being done to lower the gender gap in tech roles?

    DIVERSITY & INCLUSION | 5 MIN READ Diversity, equality and inclusion are three codes that the tech industry is yet to crack. Currently, just 17% of tech roles are filled by women, with the sector. We take a look at some company-wide culture changes that will set the standard of what tech companies can be doing to address and stamp out the issue of gender inequality. Diversity, equality and inclusion are three codes that the tech industry is yet to crack. Currently, just 17% of tech roles are filled by women, with the sector suffering a lack of representation from hard to reach groups and communities, including different races, sexualities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Last year, Morson hosted a ‘Gender Balance in Tech’ (GBiT) event in partnership with the University of Salford. The event brought together professionals and innovators from Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Siemens, BBC, Women in the Law UK and Think Money Group. The discussion panel concluded that gender imbalance in the tech industry is affecting most UK businesses, with all parties in agreement that diversity is a present-day issue and that if we don’t make big changes today, the UK PLC will decline from a dip in productivity, profits and commercial ability. This is particularly true of the ongoing issue of gender wage inequality, so we decided to investigate this further… Getting technical - the gender pay gap differences A report from Wired last year highlights the big tech companies in the UK and how what they’ve achieved for wage clarity. Meanwhile, in America, job site Glassdoor reported on the problems in its gender pay gap report. As the latter notes: “With global attention on the gender pay gap over the past three years, has progress been made to close the gap? This research examines how gender pay gaps have changed in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia since our initial study in 2016. The 2019 study offers new gender pay gap data on Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore and leverages hundreds of thousands of salary reports.” So, as you can see, this is a global issue. It’s also an essential one to address longstanding industry inequality. That’s an outlook not helped by Wired’s April 2019 report, as it confirmed: “Apple’s figures from last year revealed that women earned a median of 76p for every £1 men earned.” Clearly, enough isn’t being done to challenge this issue. Although tech companies are often thought of as progressive places to work, the industry needs to address the ongoing issues of wage inequality. Addressing the problem Organisations can take practical steps with regards to talent attraction to start addressing the issue: Recruitment practices: Develop a hiring strategy to address the understanding of the gender pay gap issue. Businesses can then show what they’ve done about it. Train your staff: Ensure that line managers are aware they need to treat their subordinates equally. Salary transparency: Have an open policy in departments about who earns what. It can also make it clear a business doesn’t tolerate wage disparity. A word on culture… Improve your company culture: Have a policy of openness that encourages employees to see each other as equals, rather than based on who earns what. At the GBiT event, Chris Joynson, talent & resourcing partner at MAG explained that in the industry technology has evolved quicker than commerce and many businesses still expect certain standards. “All organisations want superstars and not enough are taking chances on excellent candidates with plenty of ability and will, who can be taught the required technical skills. There are lots of capable and unemployed developers, for example, who are being overlooked by organisations. At MAG, certain departments still look for candidate backgrounds, for example, finance requires its team to have experience in one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms; something we’re working to address.” Implementing company-wide culture changes such as these will set the standard of what tech companies can be doing to address and stamp out the issue of gender inequality. Encouraging women to start up in tech It is clear that diversity fosters greater success and profitability and that the lack of women in tech roles is an issue that needs addressing today. At GBiT MBE Leanne Cooke, CEO and founder of Evolve-IT Consultants examined gender bias and how the root of the problem begins at birth. “Boys are more inclined to be interested in STEM subjects because they tend to grow up with scientific toys, whereas girls are given kitchens and pink things,” explains Leanne. “As soon as they reach primary school, they already have an awareness of gender bias because of the toys they’ve grown up with and these perceptions are rarely challenged by their teachers.” “We need to change the mentality of young people to embrace technical interests and aspirations, which requires more input from teachers. Young people learn about IT and technology in schools, but they don’t see what careers are available beyond the games and devices.” However, whilst apprenticeships are great and more must be done to promote the benefits to young people, their parents and businesses, there’s still the immediate problem of the present-day skills gap. Several techniques can be applied quickly and easily by tech businesses to encourage greater diversity within the workplace. Mentoring and role modelling: Coaching employees through a business can start with apprenticeships. Training women from a young age can bring about employee loyalty and encourage Offer mentoring programmes to encourage women to engage with the tech industry at an early age. The concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful, with studies showing that female students are more likely to choose a particular career when they have been exposed to scenarios where they can imagine themselves in their shoes. By providing relatable role models to the younger generation to look up to, and take inspiration from, organisations can break down barriers and encourage more women into the field. Advertise appropriately: The way businesses phrase job specs should aim to encourage inclusivity, click here to access Glassdoor’s guide to removing gender bias from job descriptions. In addition, don’t let age be a barrier—the business world should encourage all ages to apply for tech roles. Contributors: This article was written in partnership with Peninsula Group Ready to start your tech career? Search our latest opportunities in tech here. Or, if you would like to find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, click here to visit our diversity hub.

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