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Published on 29th March 2019

Getting more women into Utilities – why should we care so much?

This week, WUN was a media partner of Marketforce’s Future of Utilities Summit held in London – a two day conference that explores the challenges of the UK energy and water markets.  With over 400 delegates, and a room full of sponsors, all keen to showcase their latest technology and solutions, it is always a highly engaging and interesting event.


Last week we commented on how the speaker list seemed to have more of a gender balance to it than in previous years, and after noting that that was a real lack of female delegates last year, there were definitely more women represented in the room at 2019’s event.


However, one thing really disappointed me.  Hayley Monk, one of the founders of WUN, had been invited to chair the event on both days – a fantastic achievement.  On day two she introduced WUN to the audience, and asked them to all to come and find out more about our organisation and how their companies could get more involved.  But before she had even finished speaking, people were standing up and leaving the room – as if what she was saying wasn’t relevant to them.  It wasn’t even just the men!


So it raises a question for me.  Why should people care about increasing the number of women who join, stay, and build careers in this sector?  Just why is it so important?


Last week I blogged about a EY report that gave compelling evidence that businesses who had a more equal spread of women across their businesses, were more agile, better able to innovate and made better decisions.


A piece by the Sodexo CEO on the McKinsey website corroborates on this.  Analysis of internal data from 50,000 managers across 90 different business entities within the Sodexo group from around the world showed that teams with a male to female ratio of between 40-60% produced fair more sustained and predictable results than those that were unbalanced.


What all these stats all enforce is that balance is better.  Having teams and businesses that are more representative of society as a whole means that better decisions are made and businesses succeed. But to achieve that better balance, we all need to put effort in to understand just WHY women don’t join, or choose to leave the utilities sector, and do all we can to support and encourage women to build their careers here. The success of our industry depends on it.


We’re excited to be working with the team at Marketforce to build closer links between WUN and the FoU series of events – watch this space to hear about opportunities for WUN members in the future!


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