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Women in the utilities industry

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Published Date 17.06.2024

Shining a light on unconscious bias in the utilities sector

At the Marketing Pod, energy, cleantech and utilities are our bread and butter. We are experts in creating B2B marketing campaigns that resonate with these sectors, and are passionate about the exciting opportunities these industries are pursuing in the transition to net zero.

We are also among the UK’s Best Workplaces for Women, according to Great Places to Work UK™, and our founders and directors are two phenomenal women: Jenny Hughes and Jodie Williams. So, it’ll come as no surprise that we’re also big fans of WUN – the Womens Utilities Network.

As a group born to empower women in the utilities industry and improve diversity in the sector, WUN perfectly aligns with our values, ethos and areas of expertise. This is why WUN and The Marketing Pod have a long standing partnership and benefit from each other’s networks.

Now, our work to unveil the impact of unconscious bias on women in utilities has been shortlisted for Best Collaborative Content Campaign in the 2024 UK Content Awards – and we couldn’t be prouder.

Seen but not heard

In September 2022, WUN collaborated with The Marketing Pod to create a report on the gender pay gap and career opportunities for women. During the process, it became apparent from several conversations that many women had become disillusioned with their roles and were considering leaving the utilities industry. 

As WUN’s goal is to support women and increase diversity in the sector, this is something they wanted to investigate. The group suspected that unconscious gender bias played a big role in women’s decision to change career paths, but the only evidence they had was anecdotal. So, how could they possibly assess the scale of a problem that, by its very nature, is hard to measure and quantify?

The answer came from a new partnership with The Marketing Pod. After initial discussions, we decided that WUN and The Marketing Pod should reach out to their networks of energy professionals, circulating a survey to generate concrete data. To further amplify the reach of the survey, we also promoted it on social media, as well as our partner publication, edie.

The response to the survey was overwhelming, with 375 respondents participating – including women of different ages, background, and seniority levels.

Their answers painted a bleak picture, suggesting that women in the industry are seen but not heard. In other words, women make up a growing section of the energy and utilities workforce, but their opinions are often disregarded. Alarmingly, almost one third of respondents said they would consider leaving the industry in the next three years, evidencing the impact of unconscious bias on talent retention.

Sparking meaningful conversations

The results of the survey were contextualised in a report, which was launched at a dedicated event attended by over 70 industry stakeholders. During the event, the report’s findings were discussed by a panel of industry specialists, including WUN Directors, Jo Butlin and Sharon Sage, and The Marketing Pod Account Director, Francesca Stepney.

Commenting on the event, Francesca said: “I am very proud of the work we’ve done together with WUN to uncover the impact of unconscious bias in utilities. The event was a total hit. The report sparked meaningful conversations that were long overdue.”

“The campaign generated exactly the kind of insights we were hoping for,” added Jo. “We finally have proof of the correlation between unconscious bias and women leaving the industry. We’re also thrilled that the campaign caught the attention of some of the largest publications in our industry, sparking tough but much needed conversations. We anticipate using the results throughout the coming year in directing our work and facilitating the conversation at leadership levels.”

We know that we’re up against some tough competition at the upcoming UK Content Awards, but the successful and mutually beneficial collaboration with WUN already feels like a small victory to us.

The Marketing Pod

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WUN – Womens Utilities Network

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