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Back to Blog 20 December 2022

ESB reduces gender pay gap in 2022 and looks to boost female representation in STEM and technical roles

A key focus of ESB’s Net Zero to 2040 Strategy is empowering its people to deliver its ambitious objectives with a strong values-based and inclusive culture.

With the aim of creating a more inclusive workplace, ESB published its first Gender Pay Gap report last year before the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 came into effect.

ESB has now released its second Gender Pay Gap report, finding that ESB has a mean or average gender pay gap (net of overtime and role-specific allowances) of 3.25 per cent, marking an improvement of 1.25 per cent from 2021. The mean gender pay gap increases to 10.9 per cent once overtime and role-specific allowances are included, driven by the significantly lower participation of women in craft and engineering roles. When overtime and allowances are excluded, ESB’s median gender pay gap is favourable to women by 1.4 per cent. This positive progress reflects measures implemented by ESB to improve gender representation and reduce the gender pay gap.

Attracting Talent

The organisation has identified several priority actions to attract more females into electrical and other craft apprenticeships, graduate programmes, engineering and other STEM roles. ESB recognises that achieving this requires continuing its own programmes and also a concerted focus nationally at primary, secondary and third-level to encourage more females towards the opportunities and careers available in STEM.

To further improve gender representation throughout ESB’s senior leadership team, ESB is looking at how it can develop female leadership at all levels throughout the organisation, with a targeted focus on fostering and supporting female talent across all its diverse range of businesses.

To drive momentum, ESB has defined specific metrics to measure progress and has also set targets aimed at increasing the number of women in craft, engineering and technical areas and at management levels.

Recruitment and STEM Focus

In May 2022, ESB launched a nationwide campaign to recruit more than 1,000 people over the next three years. The aim of this drive is to increase the diversity of its almost 8,000-strong workforce to ensure that the organisation is inclusive, while delivering an ambitious strategy to deliver net zero by 2040. It is a core belief of ESB that diversity leads to more innovation, improved engagement, and increased creativity and collaboration; all vital ingredients for an organisation that wants to make a real and lasting difference by delivering climate action through clean electricity.

Sinead Kilkelly, executive director, people and organisation at ESB, highlighted the importance of ESB’s people strategy following the publication of its 2022 Gender Pay Gap report. “Improving gender diversity continues to be central to everything that we do at ESB, and understanding what is driving our gender pay gap allows us to bring a renewed focus to the changes that are needed to address it. I’m confident we are going in the right direction, and we continue to invest in the actions required to ensure we achieve our ambitions for a strong values-based, diverse and inclusive culture.”

Another important challenge to be addressed is the relatively low number of women in STEM disciplines. This requires a concerted focus nationally at primary, secondary and college level to encourage more women towards the opportunities and careers available in STEM. For ESB’s part, it remains committed to investing in, and supporting, STEM education programmes to foster creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration in learning at primary and secondary level education. This includes the hugely successful ESB Science Blast programme for primary schools, STEM Transition Year programme, Engineer and Craft Role Model School Visits and STEM Teacher Internship Programme.

“At ESB, we recognise that we need to invest today in the creators and innovators of the future with inclusion and diversity at the core of all the STEM initiatives we support and are involved in,” adds Kilkelly, referencing how it is encouraging to see a record intake of female electrical apprentices into the ESB Networks business in 2022 at 24 per cent.

Flexibility and Bespoke Programmes

ESB’s flexible hybrid working for office-based employees increases the opportunities for roles to be carried out within a remote model — removing geographic location as a barrier — extending opportunities for existing talent and the reach for future talent. Managing the opportunities and challenges of hybrid working to positively impact gender representation continues to be a focus as ESB embraces working in the new hybrid world.

Building on the success of the award winning BeMe@ESB — ESB’s LGBT+ Employees & Allies Network which has 1,200 ESB employees involved, the organisation is now establishing a pan-ESB Gender Employee Resource Group. The purpose of this group is to better understand challenges and how ESB can further support female employees, through executive sponsorship, increased visibility of role models, increased awareness of programmes and opportunities, and reverse mentoring.

A new Women in Leadership programme has also been designed by a group of female employees from within the organisation to support women on their leadership journey in their careers.

ESB’s Managing Successful Parenting Transitions Programme is another key strategic initiative in place to support an inclusive workplace and to address gender balance leadership with tailored modules supporting individuals at each stage of parenting transitions, whatever their journey to becoming a parent has been as research shows that becoming a parent is a key pinch point in n a female career.

“By creating an increasingly diverse, inclusive culture where people from all backgrounds and genders feel valued and connected to our purpose, we will improve our ability to innovate, collaborate and find the solutions we need. The culture of our organisation hinges on our four values — Caring, Driven, Courageous and Trusted. Living these four values is essential to having an inclusive organisation,” adds Kilkelly.

For more information on ESB’s 2022 Gender Pay Gap Report, visit Sustainability and ESG Reporting here.