Comment: A better balance

Attracting and retaining the best, most forward-thinking talent combined with improving diversity and inclusion is no mean feat for any organisation.


July Better Balance Fortis

At the end of last year, we launched an initiative to encourage women into construction. We currently employ 270 employees, 30 of whom are female. At the moment, there is only one woman working within a trade job at FPC. Georgina King, a gas engineer, has worked for us since 2014 having qualified in 2006.

Despite the lack of available data, from boardroom to building site it is estimated that women account for around 12% of the industry’s workforce, according to the Office of National Statistics.

As part of our drive to encourage more women into trade jobs, FPC – which was ranked as number 25 in The Worcestershire Growth barometer 2017, which focuses on mid-sized businesses based on turnover growth in the last three years – recently ran a Try a Trade event, specifically targeted at women, offering them the chance to learn a whole range of skills including plumbing, carpentry, electrics and painting and decorating.

This is all part of our long and established history of encouraging diversity in the workplace. Examples of this include our current support of 10 apprentices across different trades. During the summer we aim to launch further apprenticeship opportunities within electrics, plumbing and carpentry.

Importantly, during 2017/18, we also organised 35 work placements across a range of departments.

We employ a long-term approach to addressing gender imbalances in parts of our business. Encouraging women to consider trades as a rewarding career option and challenge stereotypes is at the heart of this.

As a major employer, we have a responsibility to shape a more inclusive work environment and are keen to attract women into the building trade. Diversity can help improve productivity, innovation and employee wellbeing.

Fortis Living also offers employees a complete package of help and support, even before they begin their new role with the company; this ‘life at Fortis’ approach supports their transition into the business.

We believe in better people who feel as though they belong. Our approach to onboarding focuses on helping new colleagues become part of the team and the organisation, building crucial relationships, understanding their role and learning how they add value.

Understanding their roles and how they contribute is the key to engagement, so the earlier our new colleagues ‘get us’, the better for all. We believe that by investing in this crucial period, colleagues develop professionally and inspirationally.