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Good practice case studies

Achieving and continuing to work towards Gender Equality at OVO

What was the challenge you wanted to address?

Currently, women make up just 16% of the energy sector, but at OVO, we’re working to change this.

We want to be the leading place to work for world changers, and that means building a place where everyone belongs and can bring their whole selves to work.

Describe your approach

We’ve put in place a number of initiatives – some specific to female representation and gender equality and some on wider diversity, because we always take an intersectional approach. These include:

  • Creating a gender equality network with senior sponsor, lead and budget for initiatives
  • Launching an enhanced referral scheme pilot to incentivise the referral of women in our tech and engineering roles
  • Targeted tactical hiring –  25% gender diversity for our Field Apprenticeship programme
  • Creating social media campaigns such as a day in life of a female engineer
  • Becoming a Period Positive Workplace – supporting those with symptoms through our flexible working approach and providing access to free menstrual products, leggings and underwear in our office washrooms
  • Working to become a Menopause Friendly Employer – introducing a Menopause & Andropause Network, starting monthly menopause cafes, training 30 of our people to be Menopause Champions
  • Signing the Time to Test commitment with Jo’s Cervical Cancer trust to commit to always giving our people time off to have a cervical smear
  • Introducing a truly flexible working policy to give our people more choice about where and/or when they work on a day-to-day basis
  • Advertising salary ranges on internal and external job adverts which include an I&D statement highlighting that we want people from all backgrounds and gender identities to apply
  • Setting up a survey to track the diversity data of all job applicants, meaning we can adjust our process and monitor our impact
  • Using Textio software to ensure gender neutral and inclusive language in all our job specs and messages to our prospective candidates
  • Building an early careers strategy across engineering and data, partnering with Makers
  • Working closely with our I&D networks to promote panel interviews in Customer Service Advisor hiring
  • Running live interview training sessions (with an I&D focus) for volume recruitment areas prior to recruitment drives
  • Launching a digital learning module with a focus on hiring with diversity and inclusion

Gender equality, along with other areas of diversity, is monitored directly by our leadership team and reported to an Executive Steerco who reviews our diversity data (quantitative and qualitative) quarterly and provides challenges on our progress. This progress is made public through our annual I&D report.

What was the outcome?

In 2019, we publicly committed to increasing female representation to 40% in leadership and 25% in tech – based on guidance from the Powerful Women Pledge, which we signed.

As of November 2023, our female representation in leadership roles has reached 38.5%, bringing us closer to that 40% target, and we also surpassed our 25% women in tech target, achieving 31% – a 15% percent increase in 12 months,  but this is about so much more than just hitting targets.

We were also really pleased to be recognised as a leading place to work for women by both Business in the Community and The Times.

What were the key lessons learnt?

Work can never stop….always more that we can do!