Creating a diverse, balanced and inclusive workforce

by Ann Pickering, HR Director

At O2 we recognise the importance of having a diverse, balanced and inclusive workforce. It not only makes good business sense, it also creates happier and more productive teams where everyone is given the opportunity to excel and succeed.

Diversity, gender balance and inclusion are issues that we have supported for a number of years. We created a guide in association with the CIPD aimed at helping businesses replicate the success of O2’s Women in Leadership programme; and more recently we partnered with Speakers for Schools to mobilise our senior employees to go into schools and speak to children about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) opportunities within the tech sector.

The government’s legislation requiring organisations to report their gender pay gap is welcome news and today we’re leading our sector by publishing our own figures. O2’s mean gender pay gap is 18.6%. We are committed to reducing it and our report published alongside our figures outlines the steps we are taking now and in the future to do just that. Our initiatives are aimed at attracting, supporting and developing the best female talent in an environment where they are given the opportunity and flexibility to succeed. You can read our report here.

In short, we’re focussing on creating a better gender balance, by increasing the number of women in STEM  roles and in our senior decision making positions. And we are making progress.  For example 53% of O2’s graduate intake this year were female.

Ultimately, businesses that experience and understand the benefits of diversity and an inclusive work environment are the most productive and deliver the best for their customers. But diversity initiatives cannot exist in isolation. Businesses, governments and other organisations need to work together to deliver a holistic strategy aimed at democratising opportunities for all, regardless of gender.