Empowering change: How we can turn the tide for women leaving utilities

Last updated: 22nd February 2024

As a business founded by women and working closely with the utilities industry, The Marketing Pod has partnered with Womens Utilities Network (WUN) to find out more about unconscious bias in the workplace. We hope gaining tangible knowledge of the situation can help us reverse the alarming trend of increasing female departures from the sector. Inspired by the POWERful Women report, we’re embarking on a mission to unravel the underlying reasons, pooling our resources and networks to shine a light on the unseen factors driving talented women away. Take part in our survey to empower change and ensure a brighter, more inclusive future for women at work.

Over the last year, we have become concerned about research and reports which have shown that increasing numbers of women in the utilities industry are leaving their jobs. And we want to do something about it.

Why? Because this feels personal to us. The Marketing Pod is a B2B marketing agency founded by two women who have spent much of their careers working in energy, and our clients span much of the utilities sector. So when we read the POWERful Women report last year, which highlighted the exodus, we felt compelled to act.

This started by speaking to our partners at the not-for-profit organisation, Womens Utilities Network (WUN), who confirmed there is an alarming number of women leaving.

Between us, we have plenty of anecdotal evidence about why this could be – but nothing tangible. But together we also have a huge number of resources and network of contacts. This gives us a golden opportunity to gain real and factual insight into the motivations behind a resignation – and hopefully become a first step to preventing the further loss of talented women in this sector.

Five steps for change

We first worked with WUN in September 2022 when we helped with the research and publication of their first white paper, ‘Listening to different perspectives: How women feel about working in the utilities sectors’.

This original piece of research led to the development of ‘five steps for change’, designed to help organisations operating in utilities to adapt their cultures and working environments in order to build a more inclusive, diverse workforce that embraces change. 

The five steps were:

  1. Women need more positive female role models in senior positions. Being the only, or token woman in a room, particularly in meetings with senior leadership can be exhausting and lonely.
  2. More networking support is needed for women in the sector. Hearing stories, sharing experiences and building personal networks is critical to women’s confidence, particularly when pursuing further career opportunities.
  3. Flexible working patterns and role adaptation are essential for women throughout their careers. This enables them to balance work and home life while still delivering.
  4. It is the culture and environment, not the women in organisations that need fixing. Assumptions that women need to fit in with the work culture is never going to work.
  5. Organisations need more inclusive hiring and development processes. Listening to different perspectives and adapting the organisation will help with gender inclusivity.

This report has provided a useful foundation to build our latest piece of collaborative research on. 

Unconscious bias in utilities: 2024 survey

Our previous report found that 60% of women felt that unconscious bias hindered their progress, which has made us think that this is a topic in need of deeper investigation. 

As a result, and again in partnership with WUN, we have launched a new survey focused on getting under the skin of unconscious bias in the workplace.

We want to build a realistic picture of what it’s like to work in utilities today – and in particular, bring to light real life examples where bias is positively or negatively impacting career development. 

The survey is open to anyone working in the utilities sector, giving respondents the chance to share their stories and have a say in how we can improve women’s experiences of working in utilities.

Take the survey and help the utilities sector retain talent

Whatever gender you identify as, we want to hear about your experiences and opinions if you work in utilities.

This is a unique opportunity to inform today’s business leaders and decision makers on what it’s like to work in the utilities sector today. 

Take the survey now.

We expect the data and insights from this survey to help us provide tangible improvements to the development of women’s careers.

About Womens Utilities Network (WUN)

Formed in 2018, WUN’s mission is to move the utilities sector to a place where women join, stay and thrive in their careers. 

The ultimate goal is to create a working environment where women are able to fully contribute to leadership and development on an equal basis.

This survey is expected to uncover the barriers women face in the utilities sector and suggest ways of removing them in order to reach our shared goal.

The findings from the survey are expected to be reported in March 2024.

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