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Willmott Dixon HR Chief Awarded OBE

Willmott Dixon HR Chief Awarded OBE
04 January 2021

Willmott Dixon’s Chief People Officer Rick Lee has been recognised with an OBE for services to Business and Equality in the 2021 New Year Honours list.

Lee has been focussed on making Willmott Dixon a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The company currently aims to achieve gender parity across all levels of the business by 2030.

He has also utilised this experience to improve the representation of women across the industry as a member of the influential Women’s Business Council, which helps shape new initiatives and policy as well as promoting best practice.

This latest accolade for promoting workplace inclusion follows Willmott Dixon being the UK’s highest placed construction company in the FT’s annual list of the top European leaders for workplace diversity and inclusion, coming 43rd overall out of 850 organisations ranked for their approach to inclusivity.   

Willmott Dixon was also named in this year’s The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list, the second consecutive time it has appeared on the list.


"I am very honoured to receive an OBE, which I feel is also a reflection on how Willmott Dixon and the wider construction industry is making huge progress to becoming a more diverse and inclusive place to work."

–Rick Lee

Chief People Officer, Willmott Dixon


Progress for Wider Construction Industry 


Rick says, "I am very honoured to receive an OBE, which I feel is also a reflection on how Willmott Dixon and the wider construction industry is making huge progress to becoming a more diverse and inclusive place to work.

“It’s a real privilege for me to work with a fantastic team at Willmott Dixon and the Women’s Business Council to drive this issue forward and develop ways we can take meaningful actions to ensure more women enjoy a rewarding career in construction. It’s already creating a positive change at Willmott Dixon, highlighted by the fact that 40 per cent of our trainee managers are now women, while the percentage of women in our workforce is up to 27.4 per cent, compared with an industry average of 13.3 per cent*.”


49 Per Cent of Honour Recipients are Women


Of the 1,239 people who received an award for 2021, 65 per cent are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

603 women are recognised in the list, representing 49 per cent of the total and 14.2 per cent of the successful candidates come from a BAME background.

6.9 per cent of the successful candidates consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) and 4 per cent of recipients identified as being LGBTQ+.


Other Notable Honours in 2021 New Year’s Honours List


An MBE went to Special Chief Officer Mark Owen, who returned from retirement to lead the Special Constabulary’s response in North Wales. An MBE also went to Karen McDowell for services to the LGBTQ community and fire service in Northern Ireland.

Charity Helpline Housing Adviser for Shelter Nadeem Khan received a BEM - unable to return to the UK because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked from his personal laptop from a rooftop in Lahore, Pakistan delivering housing advice to over 500 people over three months via web chat to people over 5,000 miles away in the UK.

Included in the List are 123 (10 per cent) health and social care workers - from British Red Cross Ambulance Crew to care home managers - all have played a part in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Picture: a photograph of Rick Lee

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 04 January 2021


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