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  • Our people

  • People profile

    We are one of the largest employers in the country, with over 34,000 employees, many of whom have spent their entire careers at Network Rail. We recognised that to fulfil our ambitions to be a trusted industry leader and to attract the best talent it is necessary to improve our approach to diversity and inclusion.

    Following the review of diversity and inclusion in recruitment and promotion in 2011, we have undertaken a number of activities this year including updating our equality, diversity and inclusion policy in collaboration with the trade unions. We delivered a quick-wins plan and a medium-term plan, which responded to all of the recommendations in the review, for example through ensuring more consistent advertising of vacancies, building greater awareness of disability, introducing an inclusive leadership programme and developing more robust diversity monitoring data.

    Our monitoring data allows us to both understand the composition of our workforce much better and just as importantly, appreciate whether or not there are any trends in our recruitment, development or the way we manage people that create barriers to our staff achieving their full potential.

    This year we asked everyone in the business to update their diversity monitoring data, and this shows us that 13.9 per cent of our employees are women; 5.6 per cent of our employees are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background; 0.3 per cent of our staff are disabled. Over a fifth of our employees have been with the group for 20 years and the average age is 43.

    By using this information intelligently, we are now much better placed to focus on interventions that will, for example help to increase the reporting of disability, or the percentage of women who work here.

    We know that changes in the composition of our workforce will take time so our objective to ‘create a more open, inclusive and diverse organisation’ is also about the culture of our business. The establishment of our own centre of expertise and the introduction of inclusive leadership skills and behaviours chimes well with our drive to be customer-driven, collaborative, accountable and challenging. Similarly, we will be working with our industry partners to share best practice and encourage talented people from more diverse backgrounds to consider the railway as a great career choice.

    Health and well-being

    We are committed to the good health and well-being of all of our people and recognise that supporting better health and well-being is a key driver for our strategic aims of improved safety, sustainability and engagement. We also recognise that there are additional benefits to our people, their families and our organisation by broadening our health and well-being approach to take into account three key areas: physical well-being, mental well-being and social well-being.

    We are currently developing a broad and ambitious strategy to achieve our long-term aims for a healthier organisation. In 2012/13, we conducted several detailed reviews relating to employee health and well-being including a detailed review of absence, an employee well-being survey (utilising the Health and Safety Executive’s Management Standards for workplace stress) and a deep-dive review of our occupational health risks.

    We established an employee health and well-being working group with representation from all areas of the business, including trade unions, human resources, rewards and benefits, safety, internal communications and employee relations, so that our strategy and approach is collaborative and takes into account the wide ranging views that can be expected with such an important area.


    We recognise the value of good communication in engaging our employees in order to achieve common goals and we have a number of established employee communication mechanisms in place to achieve this goal, including the group’s intranet site, management information cascades and briefings, films, internal magazines, email news bulletins and business briefings. Business briefings are held annually, across the country, in April at which employees are able to attend and question the directors on any aspect of the business that they choose.

    Recruitment and training

    We are committed to providing high-quality training and development initiatives to ensure we are equipped to deliver excellence in all we do. Substantial investment is dedicated by the company to deliver high-quality, accredited training and development programmes as a primary means of stimulating cultural change and management competence. We continue to invest heavily in our outstanding frontline training facilities across the country. We support a number of early career entry programmes to refresh our talent pipeline – large apprenticeships and graduate recruitment programmes and sponsored MSc and HND courses.

    Career progression

    We actively encourage development from within. Our talent identification and succession planning processes are now being embedded across the business and our intention is to ensure we develop our internal pool of talent so we can resource roles internally wherever possible. To support this we offer a suite of specific programmes to develop key individuals.