Wates dedicates month of October to inclusion | Wates

For the first time in its 123-year history, Wates Group has dedicated an entire month to promoting diversity and inclusion with October set to become an annual ‘Inclusion Month’.

As part of this month, the company has published its third Gender Pay Gap Report, indicating an improvement both in  the proportion of women represented at all levels across the company as well as a reduction in the pay gap between men and women.

The proportion of women employed across the Group rose from 18.9% in 2018 to 20.3% in 2019 and the pay gap reduced from 23.1% in 2018 to 21.7% in 2019. There was also a 1.5% increase in the proportion of women in the most senior levels of the company, to 11.5%.

Publishing the report despite the pandemic having suspended the legal obligations on companies to do so is just one step in a  major programme of activities being organised by Wates throughout October, beginning with National Inclusion Week (28 September 2 October), which has been focused on encouraging more conversation, awareness and understanding of issues within the workforce relating to gender, race and sexuality.

Colleagues have been invited to participate in a range of ‘masterclasses’ on issues as diverse as overcoming imposter syndrome, building an LGBT+ inclusive workplace, and building confidence in a  virtual world; to join themed quizzes; and to attend webinars featuring leading figures in diversity and inclusion in the UK such as the founder of UK Black Pride, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah. Coinciding as it does with Black History Month, October has also featured other activities focused on combatting racism and responding to the global conversation on race prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Inclusion Month is just one of a range of initiatives launched by Wates since its publication last year of its D&I Strategy, #WatesTogether, which set out industry-leading targets, including the target of  doubling the proportion of women in the workforce to 40% by 2025.

Wates’ Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Nikunj Upadhyay said:

“We are committed to building an organisation which is more representative of the communities we serve, offering equality of opportunities to diverse talent and an inclusive work environment where this talent thrives. The bold targets we have set ourselves will take time to achieve, but we are moving in the right direction and we are committed to achieving sustainable change.”

In March this year, Wates was the first in the sector to announce an overhaul in family leave policies, including providing eight weeks of Paternity/ Partner leave, Unpaid Carers Leave and enhanced Bereavement Leave, and currently Wates is training its leaders in inclusive leadership principles to help encourage inclusion and to address the issue of unconscious bias.

Inclusion Month was established acknowledging key events within the diversity calendar in October, particularly Black History Month, World Menopause Awareness Day, National Work Life Week, National Coming Out Day and World Mental Health Day.

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