Network Rail makes Times Top 50 ranking for third year

Network Rail makes Times Top 50 ranking for third year

Published 29 June 2023 | Average read time
4 min read
Stories Working with Network Rail

Network Rail is once again listed as a Times Top 50 employer for gender equality.

We are proud today (29 June) to be recognised as a Times Top 50 Employer for Gender Equality for the third year in a row.

The Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality is the UK’s most high-profile and established listing of employers taking action on gender equality and making it part of their business strategy at all levels.

The name of the list – previously called The Times Top 50 Employers for Women – has been updated this year to better reflect that addressing gender equality in the workplace requires engagement from all and achieving equality for all, including those who do not identify as a gender.

We achieved this recognition by working on policies and practices that promote gender diversity as outlined in our gender matters programme, an offshoot of our everyone matters strategy.

Between 2021 and 2022, some of the steps we took to improve gender diversity included:

  • making flexible working even more accessible across the business, which in turn helped us attract and develop an increasingly diverse workforce – there are now more women in leadership roles at Network Rail, increasing from 28.3% in 2021 to 31.2% in 2022
  • updating our personal protective equipment offering to include unisex and female fits, breathable material for menopausal symptoms and longer tunics for modesty reasons
  • rolling out the provision of free sanitary products at every Network Rail site
  • updating our family friendly policy to include a carers leave section that introduced five days of unpaid leave for carers to use on planned appointments
  • signing up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge – a commitment to making Network Rail the best workplace it can be for staff experiencing the menopause
  • becoming the first company in the transport industry to sign up as a member of the Employers Domestic Abuse Covenant – we pledged our support to help women affected by abuse enter or re-enter the workplace at Network Rail
  • launching anti-sexual harassment guidance as part of a campaign to end sexual harassment at work
  • creating a financial wellbeing guide for staff that includes information, support and materials covering money management and personal budgeting.

Michelle Handforth, regional managing director for the Wales and Western route and sponsor for the Gender Matters programme at Network Rail, said: “We are thrilled to have been named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality for a third consecutive year. It’s a reflection of the tremendous amount of work we’re doing to create a truly inclusive and diverse workplace for all of our employees, where everyone feels respected, valued, and recognised for their contribution to our organisation.

“We’re making great progress, as our inclusion in the Top 50 testifies, and we’re determined to continue on this path so we can encourage more women to thrive at Network Rail.”

Dannielle Dickens, a project manager in Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, said: “It demonstrates our commitment to creating an inclusive and empowering work environment.

“There are still too many employees who face barriers in the workplace, but I hope this achievement contributes to a broader movement for gender equality and inclusivity.”

Our gender equality employee network Inspire plays a crucial role in our work.

Vanessa Wragg, co-chair of Inspire and a project manager at Network Rail, said: “It can be difficult working in an industry where you’re not fully represented. But achieving The Times Top 50 list helps me feel valued. It also helps us as a whole company unpick the stereotype that the rail industry is a place only for men.”

Mary Macleod, chief executive of Business in the Community – the organisation running The Times Top 50 list, said: “We know that when women succeed, the UK succeeds, enabling our communities and planet to thrive. Network Rail is one of the companies leading the way in building a culture where women can reach their full potential by showing real commitment to addressing gender inequalities in the workplace.”

Business in the Community has run The Times Top 50 for 13 years, and this year, received more applications than ever before, with a significant number of new organisations appearing on the list.

Our achievement in being named once more on this extremely competitive list is a recognition of our long sustained and dedicated effort to diversity and inclusion. By becoming a more open and diverse organisation, we aim to provide a more accessible and inclusive experience for you.

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