The bosses of more than 30 of the UK’s biggest energy and utility companies have pledged to increase the diversity of their workforces to better reflect the communities they serve.

The Energy & Utility Skills Partnership says women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities are all underrepresented among the 566,000 people who currently work in the industry. Just 17 per cent are women to compared to the national average across all sectors of 47 per cent.

The organisation has today (11 February) launched a new commitment signed by 32 chief executives to improve the inclusivity of their hiring practices as the sector seeks to recruit and retain more than 220,000 new employees by 2027 to fill an expected skills gap.

Energy & Utilities Skills Group chief executive Nick Ellins said: “This new commitment is a framework. It starts the collective action to help the sector workforce better mirror the communities it serves and secure the unquestionable benefits that result from having vibrant, truly inclusive and diverse teams.”

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks and chair of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership Council, added: “We are very keen to share best practice and drive change through proactive, transparent measures.”

The signatories include the chief executives of Anglian Water, Cadent, Centrica, Eon, Essex & Suffolk Water, National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, Northumbrian Water, Scottish Power, Scottish Water, SES Water, SGN, South West Water, SSE, Thames Water, UK Power Networks, United Utilities, Wales & West Utilities, Welsh Water and Yorkshire Water.