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As a business who strive to be Streets Ahead, at HTM we want to continue that approach when it comes to inclusion, gender equality and diversity.

With significant growth and subsequent cultural shifts within the company taking shape, the company has decided to shine a light on the topic of gender diversity within the business and in fact, the wider TTM industry as a whole. As an industry, the representation of women within operational roles is significantly lower than the representation of women within the general population. Within HTM’s operational workforce only 1.5% of the workforce are women.

HTM’s Finance Director, Tracy Rogers, remembers being one of the first female operatives working in the industry.

“My first role in TTM was in 1982 working for Lux Traffic Controls Limited as a depot clerk before becoming depot manager, which would include going out to jobs to fit plant crossings. Anything the lads would do, I would do.”

“I don’t recall any other female faces who were out working on the job, the only other women tended to be in office-based or administration roles. Women out on the road were pretty much unheard of.

“We’ve had an increase of females within the office across Coordinator and Administrator roles over the last 12 months and so it’s great that we are looking at all angles of the business to ensure we are providing as much opportunity and visibility to the operational roles out on the road, as we are within the office,” she continued.

Following this acknowledgement of their own imbalance, HTM have created an initiative called “Target 40” which acts as a target for the company to increase their workforce with an additional 40 females in operational roles by December 2023. This would mean that the business has increased the percentage of women within their business at an operational level by 14%, with the long-term goal to reach the target of 40% of their operational workforce to be represented by females.

“The addition of more females and therefore a more diverse workforce will bring a more dynamic balance to our operations,” commented MD Greg Baldwin. “We also want to understand the reasons why we might be in this position. The TTM industry and specifically the operational roles that sit within that industry have the reputation of being physical, hands-on roles. We need to challenge the narrative that this is better suited towards one gender. Lifting cones and barrier is only one part of the job role. Being a traffic management operative is about safety and having good attention to detail.”

HTM have created a survey that they will be using as part of their research into this industry-wide issue to understand why there may be a lack of women within the industry as well as identify ways to encourage more women to see temporary traffic management as a viable career option.

“The more people that take part in this research, the better an understanding we can gain as to why people have this perception of the industry and what we can all do to work towards changing it,” said Greg.

The company is already addressing their existing workplace setup to ensure that the business is ready to welcome an increase in female operational staff.

“We are looking at a variety of things such as the working environment and proud to be a company that already can vouch that there is no gender pay-gap,” Greg continued. “We’ve also been engaging with the female operatives that we already have within the business to get their input and see what changes we can make from their perspective. We’ve tried to approach this as holistically as possible.”

Sharon Yates, who has been working as a Traffic Management Operative at HTM for over 2 years said, “You have to just give it a go and be open minded.”

Lorraine Gregory, regional director of CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors Association) Midlands, said: “Businesses in our industry are facing a recruitment crunch as a shortage of people coming into the sector is holding back growth.

“It’s great to see Highway Traffic Management looking to diversify its workforce and to be working proactively to bring more women into the business.

“It is vital that we ensure that civil engineering is seen as a career of choice for people of all ages and backgrounds to help ensure we have a strong, diverse workforce for the future.”

Have your say!

Complete the HTM Target 40 survey today, at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SX6GRFX

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