The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

BESA Criticises Lack of Diversity in Heating and Hot Water Industry

BESA Criticises Lack of Diversity in Heating and Hot Water Industry
17 February 2023
 

New research shows that 2 per cent of the heating and hot water industry sector’s workforce are women and only 5 per cent are from an ethnic minority background.

The study, from Energy Systems Catapult emphasises that the heating sector is already experiencing labour shortages, due to an ageing workforce with few new entrants.

The report argues that women and people from ethnic minority communities represent an untapped talent pool that could help address both the labour and skills shortage.

The failure to develop a more diverse workforce is undermining attempts to accelerate the decarbonisation of heating and hot water production in buildings and meet government targets for scaling up heat pump installations and replacing gas boilers, BESA believes.

 

"It is crucial that we shift the ‘male, stale and pale’ image so that we can recruit the multi-background, multi-talented workforce our companies need to play their part in future economic growth. Otherwise, it is hard to see how the industry as we know it can survive."

– Helen Yeulet

Director of Training and Skills, BESA

 

“These Figures are an Absolute Scandal”

 

“These figures are an absolute scandal,” said the Association’s Director of Training and Skills Helen Yeulet. “We appear to have made no progress on diversity at all.

“The industry needs new approaches to meet its skills gap and embrace the technologies that will help to tackle climate change. A different workforce brings diversity of thought that will be essential if it is to grow and develop.

“We must make our industry more inclusive and representative of the society it serves. It is crucial that we shift the ‘male, stale and pale’ image so that we can recruit the multi-background, multi-talented workforce our companies need to play their part in future economic growth. Otherwise, it is hard to see how the industry as we know it can survive.

Heating has a rapidly ageing workforce with a high proportion of employees over 55 and has seen a sharp drop in the number of workers under 30. BESA believes apprentices will be a crucial part of the solution, so employers are being urged to sign up for its “Future Skills’ pledge” and commit to taking on at least one apprentice this year.

 

Social Stereotypes Preventing Women From Joining Technical Training Courses

 

The Catapult’s report argues that “inherent societal stereotypes” perpetuate the perception that the heating trade is only for men, which leads to a flawed recruitment process that prioritises employing more men.

Women also reported that they were not encouraged to join technical training courses at school age as these were “only for boys”; and later in life financial barriers and lack of flexible working limited access for women and ethnic minorities. The report said many people were put off by the cost of training courses and that awareness of available funding was low.

So-called “banter” culture is a further disincentive to people who feel they may be exposed to sexist and racist behaviour in the white male-dominated heating sector.

Picture: a photograph of two people working at a laptop together, pictured from the back. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 February 2023

Share



Related Articles

Championing EDI – How IPSA is Paving the Way for Inclusivity and Diversity in the Security Sector

Satia Rai, CEO at IPSA & Head of Belonging at Securitas UK, outlines why it's essential for the security industry to “reflect who it...

 Read Full Article
The Role of Policy and Design in Addressing Gender Imbalance in Public Spaces

Architect Deborah Saunt outlines how the built environment is failing women and why we must integrate a gender perspective when legislating for and...

 Read Full Article
Built Environment Workforce Report Reveals Experiences of Prejudice

A new report from the National Institute of Building Sciences provides a glimpse into how workers in the built environment experience prejudice based on age, gender and...

 Read Full Article
Housebuilder Celebrates Women in Construction on International Women’s Day 2023

Cannock-based housebuilder Jessup Partnerships is looking to encourage talented women into the workforce and has produced a video to mark International Women’s Day...

 Read Full Article
Women in FM Recognised in WiHTL 2022 Women to Watch & Role Models Index

The Women to Watch & Role Models for Inclusion in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (HTL) Index 2022 has named several women working in facilities management in its...

 Read Full Article
Women’s Presence in the Property Sector is Growing, But More Needs to be Done

Niki Fuchs, Chief Executive of Office Space in Town, outlines what more needs to be done to improve the prospects for women in the property sector and the steps...

 Read Full Article
Spotlight Interview – Kiran Kachela | Continuous Improvement Projects 

Kiran Kachela, Founder of Continuous Improvement Projects, spoke to ThisWeekinFM about what led to her starting her own consultancy business and her recent award...

 Read Full Article
Security Sector to March at London Pride 2022

On 2 July, the security industry will come together for the first time to celebrate pride and LGBTQIA+ identities within the sector. Organised by Satia Rai, Director...

 Read Full Article
Willmott Dixon and Wates Group Among Those Named Top Employers for Women

Three companies in the construction, property services and development sector have been recognised in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2022 guide. Willmott Dixon,...

 Read Full Article
Using Inclusive Language in the Workplace During Ramadan

With Ramadan approaching, D,E&I and Wellbeing Consultant Ash Ahmad shares her tips on how employers can support their Muslim employees and colleagues during the month...

 Read Full Article