Run by Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network and The Times for more than a decade, The Times Top 50 Employers for Women identifies companies, which make gender equality part of the way they do business. Organisations were assessed on the work they do to remove the drivers that enforce gender inequality, from flexible working and family-friendly policies to pay, reward and progression.
In 2020, Wates announced a complete overhaul of its family friendly policies, including enhanced paternity/partner leave, increased maternity leave and carer leave, to enable a greater sharing of responsibilities at work and home, and to help promote the development of a more inclusive culture. When it launched its Flexible Working principles last June, Wates became one of the first built environment businesses to encourage flexible working in every role and at every level across the business.
Earlier this year, the Group secured a £90m sustainability-linked loan facility, which will, amongst other things, hold the business to account for improving the number of women in senior leadership positions. The effort to make Wates more diverse and inclusive is now firmly established as one of the five performance priorities (alongside safety, profitability, quality and sustainability) on which the whole team is focused.
Wates is committed to becoming more representative of the communities in which it works, with a target to achieve 40% female representation at all levels within the business by 2025. Earlier this year it issued guidance to colleagues on recognising and responding to menopause at work and has recently worked with the Fawcett Society to publish the largest-ever survey of menopausal women, resulting in the Menopause and the Workplace report, calling for greater action from Government and business to bring about urgent change.
Nikunj Upadhyay, Inclusion and Diversity Director at Wates Group, said: “Being a Times Top 50 employer is a strong endorsement of our Inclusion and Diversity efforts. We believe that the best places to work are those that promote a culture that includes everyone. This not only creates opportunities for individuals, but also enables the business to succeed in the future as a result of benefitting from greater diversity of talent, skills, and experience.
“We are only at the start of our journey. This recognition strengthens our commitment to drive positive action both within our business and the built environment sector more broadly.”
Katy Neep, Gender Equality Campaign Director at Business in the Community, commented: “The cost-of-living crisis following hot on the heels of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 faced by women has further shone a light on how far we have to go on gender equality. Without action from all employers, we will end up chasing our tails while trying to eradicate the inequalities gap and create truly inclusive workplaces for all women.
“The Times Top 50 gives us hope that we are making strong progress in our goal towards gender equality and in our 40th year we call on all employers to be bolder, braver and faster in achieving that goal.
“This year’s application process was the most competitive one we have ever seen. Employers like Wates haven’t lifted their foot off the pedal when it comes to supporting women at work and they are a strong example of what commitment to making gender inequality a thing of the past looks like.”