HS2 commits to racial equality in the workplace

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HS2 has shown a commitment to racial equality by signing up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, designed to improve employment outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees

Dame Judith Hackitt has been appointed as board diversity champion to scrutinise HS2’s equality, diversity and inclusion performance.

HS2 has set a commitment to:

  • Appoint an executive sponsor for race
  • Capture data and publicising progress
  • Zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression.

HS2 is set to support 30,000 jobs at peak construction. This means the project is well-placed to play a leading role in embedding the principles of the charter.

The principles of the charter build on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith review, ‘Race in the workplace’, which found that people from BAME backgrounds were still underemployed, underpromoted and under-represented at senior levels.

The signing of the charter coincides with the announcement that HS2’s head of equality, diversity and inclusion, Mark Lomas, has been recognised in People Management’s Top 20 Power List.

Lomas was recognised alongside public figures, including Sir Lenny Henry, for his commitment to driving forward the EDI agenda.

He has spearheaded several initiatives at HS2 Ltd and across its supply chain, which have been pivotal to the business’ success in addressing the underrepresentation of minority groups working in construction.

Ensuring opportunities for all

Mark Lomas, said: “We’ve worked hard at HS2 to embed inclusive practices into everything we do and it’s an honour to be recognised for that.

“There is always more that businesses can do, and we’re committed to further developing our approach to ensure that HS2 is a workplace that attracts, invests and champions opportunities for BAME employees.”

Non-executive director, Judith Hackitt said: “We have an amazing opportunity here to set the standards across the UK’s construction and rail engineering sectors.

“HS2’s supply chain will extend out to thousands of British businesses over the next decade, so this is a genuine opportunity for us to play a leading role in the implementation of measures that truly ensure BAME employees are fairly represented and have equality of opportunity to thrive in the workplace.”

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