We are committed to providing a safe and enriching working environment for all. One that allows individual skills, strengths, and perspectives to be heard, used, and amplified, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or physical ability. We strive for a collaborative, equal environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their true selves to work. We also encourage a mindset among our leaders that a diverse team makes an important contribution to the successful delivery of business ambitions.
During 2020, we undertook various initiatives towards these aims. For example, we are expanding the remit of our current Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, while working towards a global policy and practices. Also during the year, many of our teams received unconscious bias awareness training. We have appointed a global equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lead, who heads a network of EDI ambassadors to ensure consistency of implementation of EDI practices, while taking local knowledge, cultural differences and political and socio-economic considerations into account. Employee networks for disability, LGBTQ+ and diverse ethnic backgrounds have been launched to guide best practice and understanding of every individual’s lived experience. These networks are not exclusive, welcoming allies who help drive change to ensure inclusivity towards all employees.
Currently 27% of staff in the Netherlands are female. At Royal HaskoningDHV Southern Africa, we are encouraging open conversations around diversity, inclusion and representation. We are aware there is still much to do but we believe a good start is awareness of thoughts, actions and language. In 2020, we sponsored the first virtual GirlCode hackathon. GirlCode seeks to empower girls through technology, encouraging them to get involved with technology design, development and leadership. The non-stop coding event focused on building solutions to challenges connected with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Vietnam our managing director signed a statement of support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) on behalf of HaskoningDHV Vietnam. The seven principles, developed by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in businesses and communities.
Early in 2021 we will launch our first mentorship programme for female employees in the United Kingdom, striving to reduce our Gender Pay Gap and ensure representation of female colleagues is as equal as possible at every level. We hope to replicate this programme in other countries where there is an imbalance. We continue to encourage more women into engineering through initiatives including recruitment campaigns, career encouragement and greater flexibility following parental leave.