Construction News

Mon August 19 2019

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Wates sets out on quota drive

31 Jul Wates is aiming for 40% of its workforce to be female by 2025 and has recruited Barclays Bank’s diversity chief to help make it happen.

Wates' new diversity chief, Nikunj Upadhyay
Wates' new diversity chief, Nikunj Upadhyay

Wates new diversity and inclusion plan, called #WatesTogether, sets out workforce targets for 2025, including 40% women, 20% BAME, 3% with some kind of disability and 5% who identify as LGBTQ+.

It also intends for 50% of its early careers intake to be female and 5% of new recruits to be career returners.

Wates has recruited Nikunj Upadhyay as group head of diversity and inclusion, reporting to human resources director Paul Rowan. Ms Upadhyay joins Wates on 30th September from Barclays, where she is vice president, diversity & inclusion.

Other changes promised by Wates include an overhaul of parental leave and the introduction of flexible working policies.

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Wates chief executive David Allen said: “The entire built environment sector needs to change to become more representative of the society we serve.  At Wates we want a role in leading that change.  Our plan summarises our approach, our goals and our commitment to be a business where everyone is welcomed, included and connected.”

He added: “We’re delighted to welcome Nikunj Upadhyay to our leadership team to lead this important work. Through her experience at Barclays, and earlier at HSBC and Accenture, Nikunj has overseen the implementation of initiatives focused on increasing the representation of women and engagement of under-represented groups, as well as programmes to promote flexible working. We look forward to welcoming her as we continue our journey to becoming a more inclusive and better business.”

Nikunj Upadhyay said: “For me, an inclusive workplace is where we feel our individuality is cherished and we can be confident to bring our whole self to work. I am looking forward to joining Wates and to working with everyone to deliver the ambition of #WatesTogether, where each one of us not only feels included but is also thriving.”

The Wates Group board is currently 100% white male; its executive committee is 90% male and 100% white.

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