Employment and skills

The number of people employed at January 1, 2018 was 3,541, a decrease of 54 on the prior year. The age profile of our workforce rose slightly over the year but the number aged under 30 remained at 16 per cent. The number of women employed rose from 540 to 567. In addition to our own workforce, we provide indirect employment to a large number of contractors, principally engineers, fitters and drivers. Our sites are predominantly in rural areas and we endeavour to use local companies to provide these specialist services. 

We are corporate members of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), a national campaign which aims to increase the participation, inclusion and success of women in science, technology and engineering. We have been working closely with WISE including participating in its ‘10 steps’ workshop, which aims to ensure women in industries like ours where they are in the minority have the same opportunities to progress their careers as their male colleagues. This will help us to reach our goal of 20 per cent of managers in senior management roles being female by 2025. 

This partnership with WISE is part of an ongoing commitment to being a fair, respectful and inclusive company that values meritocracy, openness and transparency. It is fully supported by the executive team and is being sponsored and led by our aggregates division managing director James Whitelaw.  

Since the introduction of our fairness, inclusion and respect (FIR) policy in 2018, we have implemented a number of changes across the business. These include improvements in maternity and shared parental leave; setting recruitment equality targets and launching an unconscious bias education programme.

Last year, according to figures from WISE, women held 11 per cent of construction industry roles. The next phase of our FIR strategy will see new corporate photography showing a more diverse workforce replace images in current marketing and job advertising photos, while the unconscious bias training provided by our HR advisers will support managers to be aware of how their own views may impact recruitment or personal development.  Several more ideas are also being discussed as we work to create a fully inclusive culture. 

Gender pay gap

Our 2018 gender pay gap report recognises that we have made steps to improve our gender balance and diversity but there is more to do. We are confident we have equal pay, but acknowledge that we have a gender pay gap. This is because we have fewer women in senior positions and in the operational production roles that attract weekly bonuses and shift premiums. We are working hard to improve our position and to ensure that everyone who works for us, and with us, feels respected and included regardless of gender, or any other characteristic. You can find a copy of the 2018 gender pay gap report here and a full breakdown of our employees by gender and age here.

Developing talent

We continued to develop our talent pool and bring younger people into the business through our higher, craft and task-related apprentice programmes. We also run a successful graduate training programme.

Eight staff based at the Hinkley Point C power station construction site in Somerset successfully completed the inaugural in-house plant operations apprenticeship designed by Hanson with support from the Mineral Products Qualifications Council.

The flexible apprenticeship covering key plant operations started in November 2017 and offered separate and combined programmes for concrete, asphalt and aggregate processing plant and yellow machine operators. It was supported through the 2017 apprenticeship levy, paid by all UK businesses with a wage bill of more than £3 million. 

Hands-on workplace learning made up most of the intensive 14-month course, along with off-the-job study towards vocational qualifications. The apprenticeship scheme is being delivered by Mentor Training Solutions and MP Skills with support from the University of Derby for the concrete and asphalt pathways. 

Our talent management and succession planning programmes continued, along with a leadership development programme for senior managers. We also invested in workplace training and competency, mainly focused on health, safety and environment. 

Over 100 supervisors and managers completed a training programme developed in partnership with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) covering environmental and resource management and sustainability. This specialist training has been extended with the development of new courses for supervisors, contracting and non-operational managers, which will be rolled out during 2019.

We also integrate social commitment into the training of future managers. Within a period of four months, participants have to develop their own community project as part of their training and procure the necessary resources for it. In 2018, over £7,000 worth of funds and materials were raised with the company also profiting from the newly-learned skills of the young employees.

Employee benefits

We have a range of benefits to support employees and their families. Our round-the-clock telephone counselling service EmployeeCare provides confidential support on a broad range of work-related and personal issues from financial management and relationships to health, drugs and bereavement.
Mysafeworkplace is a confidential service to report anything from workplace harassment to fraud. 

Our staff benefits portal TeamBenefits was relaunched during the year. The portal gives employees and their families access to a range of exclusive discounts from High Street stores and eating out, to mobile phones, insurance and travel and is used by nearly two-thirds of the workforce. By moving to a new provider, we can now offer 135,000 ways of saving, from hotels to DIY. It also helps to promote our health and wellbeing initiative by including discounted membership to 3,000 gyms.