What are we doing to encourage diversity across the business?


Post by Chris Last, Group HR Director, Kier

I recently had the privilege to present an award at the National Diversity Awards in Liverpool.  The evening celebrated the excellent achievements of grass-roots communities that tackle the issues in today’s society, giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work.

The award I presented was for Community Organisation: Race, Faith and Religion, which was awarded to Black Cultural Archives, an excellent organisation that over the past 30 years has worked tirelessly to collect, preserve and celebrate the heritage and history of Black people in Britain.


It was an honour to attend the event with colleagues from across the group who have been championing diversity and inclusion in their region including Anthony Irving, Katie Henton and Amy Griffiths who joined us from Construction and Kathryn Sewell from HR.  At the event we heard inspiring stories from those who were shortlisted for the award and this made me reflect on the journey that Kier has been on over the past 12 months to promote diversity within the company.

We have become members of The WISE Campaign (Women in Science and Engineering, and are working with them to motivate girls and women to study and build careers using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).  Their mission is to get 1 million more women into the UK STEM workforce and we are supporting them to help attract the next generation of talent.

In the past year, we have also launched our Balanced Business Network to focus on levelling the playing field for women in Kier, as well as promoting wider diversity and inclusion projects.  We recently held the third quarterly meeting, with over 60 women from across the organisation joining and learning more about resilience and stress management, committing to achieving personal goals while a third party trainer helped the group to develop techniques to turn difficulties into challenges


In this session we also welcomed three male colleagues who are change agents helping to achieve a more balanced business at Kier:

– Graham Fairbank, senior finance manager, Kier Living has recently returned to work having been the first man at Kier to take Shared Parental Leave, he shared his experience and reflections on how it’s perceived.

– Head of Profession and diversity champion at Mouchel, Ian Patey, shared an overview of the progress that has been made at Mouchel to improve inclusivity. He spoke about the importance of making clear what a diverse business looks like, what the benefits are, and the need to for leaders to visibly lead by example being at the heart of achieving change

– Finally, as a member of the government-backed Women in Business Council, Men as Change Agents group, Sean Jeffery, executive director, Infrastructure and Overseas, Kier, spoke about what he has learned so far from this cross-industry group and how it will inform diversity and inclusion activity within the business, both in terms of attracting and retaining female talent and enabling high potential women to shatter the glass ceiling within our sector.


The group went away with the task of identifying themes and strategic priorities to continue to develop the diversity and inclusion strategy within their part of the business and I’m looking forward to the next session to discuss the steps that have been made and where we go next.

As a business, we are committed to recruiting the best diverse talent available and encouraging them to reach their full potential. Our inclusive culture and approach to diversity includes helping young people into work through our apprenticeship and degree programmes, encouraging Armed Forces service leavers and Reservists in their civilian careers, supporting ex-offenders to make a new start, and helping women to thrive and excel in their careers.

We know there is more work to do, especially in encouraging future generations to consider a career in the industry, but believe we’re off to a strong start and I’m encouraged by the appetite within the business to make the key steps needed in achieving a more diverse organisation.

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