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Jacobs commits to gender equality

Logo - Jacobs logo May 2016

Jacobs chair and CEO Steve Demetriou has joined the Catalyst CEO Champions for Change (CCCC) companies, a group of over 50 international CEOs pledging to advance women into all levels of leadership.

The move underlines Jacobs’ commitment to achieving gender equality and follows on from the UK’s first round of gender pay gap reporting for large firms, which revealed an 18% mean gender pay gap across companies in the professional, scientific and technical activities sector (EA 11-Apr-18).

The CCCC initiative has seen Demetriou make organisational and personal commitments to support inclusion, diversity and gender equality. To hold Jacobs accountable, Demetriou also pledged to be transparent and share metrics on progress toward these commitments.

"As CEOs and board chairs, we have experienced the advantages of having women serve in leadership roles. We believe it is important to have a board and executive leadership teams that are representative of our customers, stakeholders and employees," he said.

The CCCC also recognises CEOs and industry leaders who support inclusion and diversity within their organisations, with some of the Jacobs’ recent gender diversity initiatives including:

  • Appointing the first female executive vice president in the firm’s history
  • Undertaking a full pay equity review and prioritising budget for any remedial actions required to address inequality in like-for-like roles
  • Introducing conscious inclusion training to all employees over the next year
  • Holding senior leadership accountable for recruiting from a diverse candidate pool
  • Empowering all employees to share opportunities for improvement with leaders
  • Improving talent management and development process to help ensure training, development and career advancement are fairly distributed across the company.

The firm has also been working to build connections within its Jacobs Women’s Network (JWN), which seeks to balance the representation of gender at all levels and promote an inclusive culture - and where equality is believed to help drive profitable growth. JWN currently boasts over 5,000 members across six continents.

Compulsory gender pay gap reporting for UK firms took place for the first time this year, revealing a nationwide average gender pay discrepancy of 15%, a figure that rose to 26% when specifically looking at the leading environmental consulting employers (EA 11-Apr-18). The reporting highlighted a lack of female representation at higher paid positions.

As part of this mandatory reporting initiative, a number of consultancies including WSP, Atkins and Mott MacDonald revealed plans to tackle the issue, with strategies ranging from pay policy reviews to career management programmes.

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