Diversity and inclusion remain central to our people strategy. We value diversity and celebrate individual differences, believing that our inclusive culture helps the business continue to grow as a strong, dynamic and innovative organisation.

Board and senior leaders

A range of personal strengths and industry backgrounds are represented on the Board, which is made up of two female and six male Directors. Further information on the skills and backgrounds of individual Directors can be found in the Board biography section on pages 90 and 91.

Senior leadership, comprising the Executive Committee and its direct reports (excluding administrative assistants), consists of 25 females and 79 males, representing 24% females. Further details on the gender breakdown across the Group can be found within the Our People section on page 45.

The Committee recognises the challenges facing the progression of women to senior roles, and supports the considerable work being done by the Group to provide opportunities for female career progression in what has historically been a male dominated sector.

This includes attracting more female graduates and apprentices as well as supporting those returning to engineering and construction careers after taking parental breaks.

The Committee regularly reviews the composition and balance of skills and experience of the Board and its Committees and seeks to make all appointments based on merit and with specific objectives and criteria in mind, in order to address any skills or experience gaps identified. The Committee is conscious of the recommendations of the Hampton-Alexander Review and the target to have 33% female Board members by 2020 as well as the recommendations of the Parker Review for boards of FTSE 250 companies to have at least one director from an ethnic minority background by 2024. The Committee thoroughly supports the Group’s approach to broader diversity and inclusion and the requirement for the Committee to consider diversity of backgrounds when making appointments is mandated by the Committee’s terms of reference.

At present, the size of the current Board is considered to be proportionate given the scale of the Group’s operations and matters of diversity will be key in making new appointments at the appropriate time.

Diversity and inclusion: employees

Increasing the diversity of Directors and senior leaders cannot be achieved in a vacuum and the Committee recognises the importance of promoting diversity throughout the workforce.

In order to provide under-represented groups of employees with relevant support and networking opportunities, the Group has four employee-led Affinity Networks, which are open for all employees to join regardless of gender, race, ability or sexual preference.

These networks each relate to one of four key areas of protected characteristics and include: LGBT+, Multi-Cultural, Gender Equality and Ability (which seeks to identify and remove barriers for people with disabilities). The four Affinity Networks provide an opportunity for all employees to support the Group’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Diversity and inclusion continue to be fundamental to the Group’s people strategy and the Group is committed to ensuring that individuals from all backgrounds are able to access fulfilling careers in the construction industry. Through the Group’s efforts to promote such opportunities, and the provision of ongoing support for under-represented groups, the Committee is positive about the scope for increased diversity among future leaders.

More information about Diversity and Inclusion at Balfour Beatty can be found on page 44 of the 2019 Annual Report.