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Creating a recruitment campaign that works for women

Welsh Water are not-for-profit and work solely for the benefit of our customers. It’s well-established that having a diverse and inclusive workplace benefits businesses as you have as wide a pool of talent and views as possible. We have actively pursued making Welsh Water as attractive as possible to everyone, and we’ve tailored our recruitment practices to try and achieve this.

What we did.

When we started our apprenticeship programme in 2011, it was designed to provide succession for key operational roles to mitigate the risk of an aging workforce. To realise this, we had key objectives for the campaign:

  1. Futureproof our business – bringing fresh ideas and new talent into Welsh Water
  2. Address our ageing workforce – clear succession plans for our key operational roles
  3. Enhance our capability to use new technology
  4. Creation of a learning culture – increased mentoring and coaching
  5. Increase Welsh Water’s brand image to be an employer of choice
  6. Create an inclusive workplace.

Each year, we review our recruitment campaign and processes to make sure we are offering maximum opportunities for women to learn about the roles at Welsh Water and become inspired to apply for roles – especially those that are within traditionally male-dominated areas. Prior to the launch of the campaign for 2017 we:

  • Created recruitment literature with positive images of existing female graduates and apprentices.
  • Worked with Welsh charity Chwarae Teg to ‘gender lens’ our recruitment material.
  • Created women-only adverts for social media.
  • Created a women-focused microsite (with photography and case studies).

What we learned.

As a result, we’ve seen an increase in the proportion of applications from girls for our apprenticeship programme, and we’ve seen a narrowing of the gap between the total men and women employed by Welsh Water – from 77%-23% men-to-women ratio in 2014-15, to 71%-29% today.

Our most recent What Are You Made Of? apprenticeship and graduate recruitment campaign (in March) means that 12% of our applications are now from women, compared to 8% in 2014.

Our recruitment is designed to make Welsh Water attractive to everyone – and we have made great efforts to ensure our workplace is inclusive for women as well as men. Our message is that there is no job here that women cannot do – and raising awareness of this is a key priority for us. Our recruitment campaign has seen more women applying for roles that we’ve previously only had men apply for. For example, while in 2011 we had no female apprentices, we now have nine women in apprentice roles.

What we would do differently as a result.

This is one stage in an ongoing process. We regularly measure colleague engagement through our annual employee engagement survey, which asks colleagues their views on how inclusive and diverse the company is, and how we can improve. We also annually review the effectiveness of our graduate and apprenticeship recruitment campaign, e.g. number of applications, proportion shortlisted and number successful. We also have ongoing monitoring of how our policies are working on the ground through our trade union forums.

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