SSEN Transmission is the electricity transmission owner for the north of Scotland, playing a critical role in the transition to a low carbon future by developing, building, maintaining and operating a network for net zero. Allie Walker, HR Business Partner, shared with Equate Scotland her thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion to deliver on a net zero future.
At SSEN Transmission, we know that to deliver a network for net zero, we need a skilled and productive team of people and we recognise the challenges we face in maintaining this capability. These challenges range from an ageing workforce, increasing competition for core skills, a rapidly changing technology environment, the very recent impacts of the pandemic, as well as difficulties in attracting diverse talent, and particularly women, into the industry. Even considering the impact of one of these alone can have a significant impact, with 20% of our sector’s workforce being predicted to retire within the next ten years. Combine this figure with the fact that currently only 1% of those leaving education choose to work in the energy and utilities sector and it is clear that we face a significant and tangible people challenge.
We recognise that we need to look more widely to find and then retain talent – without the right people, we simply can’t deliver a Network for Net Zero. We firmly believe that recruiting and retaining a diverse mix of people from a diverse talent pool sits at the very heart of SSEN Transmission’s opportunity for success. Inclusion and diversity of all kinds are essential to our decision making and delivering the best possible outcomes for our employees and our customers.
At SSEN Transmission we genuinely believe that everybody should be able to fulfil their potential at work regardless of their identity or background. We are clear about our ambition and aspirations for our team – we want one SSEN Transmission family where all individuals are equal – no barriers, no excuses.
We want the best people to be part of growing the business and will continue to focus on encouraging more difference IN, and creating a culture where people want to stay ON and progress UP.
To create an inclusive and engaging place to work, and to retain and develop the brilliant people we employ, we’ve introduced a number of new inclusion initiatives in the past 18 months. The areas of improvement we’ve made are extensive but include, launching a reverse mentoring programme “Leadership through a Lens” to enable our senior team to understand different perspectives; introducing a new I&D forum to ensure we are really listening to all employee voice and following this through with agreed actions ; hosting working groups with a selection of our minority and majority employee groups and, as a result of these honest inputs, building a clear I&D strategy for SSEN Transmission to ensure that in the future we focus on the right activities to enable us to grow an inclusive team.
We’ve also made significant changes to how we attract talent into SSEN Transmission as well – working with an independent I&D Consultancy we’ve reviewed our end to end recruitment process; creating inclusive job templates, using gender decoders to ensure our adverts are free of any gender bias, promoting flexible working as part of the role, using various inclusion focused attraction platforms, inclusive recruitment training for Hiring Managers and encouraging gender diverse interview panels. We’re committed to inspiring women in STEM – taking part in Equate Meet-Up events to share career journeys and tips to women students, professionals and returners.
We recently announced a major green jobs boost with our plans to create over 400 new jobs in the next year. The new jobs will include technical roles at all levels to help facilitate some of the major development projects we have in the pipeline, as well as project management roles and teams to help with customer and stakeholder engagement. The roles will be spread across Scotland, with plans for expansion in both Perth and Glasgow, as well as in Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness.
In addition to ensuring we create a truly inclusive culture, that supports and encourages increased diversity, we are measuring our progress and work with a number of I&D targets, aligning with the wider SSE Group on demographics like gender for example, where our targets have recently been revised to reflect the FTSE Women Leaders ambitions (including an ambition to have 40% female at our Executive/Executive direct reports level by the end of 2025 and a wider commitment to 33% female representation across the SSE group by the end of 2030).
And our work encouraging one SSEN Transmission family, no barriers, no excuses, will continue as we recognise that there is so much more that can be improved and that shared accountability across the business is needed to make real progress. We look forward to continuing to partner with organisations like Equate, to share learning and seek out new opportunities to create one inclusive and engaged SSEN Transmission team and a truly great place to work.
To learn more about what careers are currently available with SSEN Transmission, visit SSE Careers at https://careers.sse.com/. Our STEM related roles can also be found on Equate Careerhub – https://equatecareerhub.org.uk/view-jobs/