Page 5: Recruitment
As part of its workforce planning, British Gas implements a diversity and inclusion strategy using tailored action plans. This means it actively seeks new recruits from a wide range of backgrounds.
The need to recruit a diverse engineering workforce is seen as critical by British Gas. It plans recruitment to ensure it has a socially inclusive workforce. This is important as it will enable British Gas to reflect the diversity of its customer base. For example, it is useful to have employees from different nationalities and backgrounds to communicate with customers that do not speak English as a first language. Recruiting more women engineers may help to attract female customers.
British Gas has won a national award from the Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) for its efforts to encourage and attract women into the engineering workforce and into plumbing and associated trades. To dispel the myth that only men can be good engineers, British Gas runs a Georgina and the Dragon campaign for children.
What British Gas' recruitment programmes have achieved is demonstrated by various awards during 2009:
- British Gas won awards from the Local Employment Partnership in the East Midlands. The awards for “Unlocking Talent” and the “Outstanding LEP Achievement Award” recognise the company's recruitment work with the LEP and Jobcentre Plus in the region.
- British Gas has been named in the 2009 Sunday Times's 20 Best Big Companies to Work For.
- The British Gas Academy won an award from Women into Science and Engineering (WISE). The award - Investor in WISE - rewarded the efforts British Gas makes to promote science, engineering and construction to girls and young women.
British Gas tries to appeal to a varied and diverse audience when promoting its apprenticeships. To advertise opportunities widely, British Gas uses specialist Sky channels like Parliamentary Projects TV, which focuses on careers, and Passion TV, which is aimed at the black community.
In print media, it uses women's magazines, publications targeted at ethnic minorities such as The Muslim Weekly as well as other careers directories for the same reason. Other channels include radio, newspapers, British Gas website (www.britishgasacademy.co.uk) and a DVD for schools.
Recruiting gas engineers of the right level is important. Candidates for a British Gas apprenticeship must be at least 16 years old, and have a minimum of four GCSEs at grade C or above or equivalent (e.g. NVQs). However, they need more than academic qualifications, they must be able to show some aptitude for customer service, such as being able to listen to customers and understand their requirements.
British Gas uses an online application form. To help British Gas decide an applicant's suitability, this includes a value-based questionnaire. This requires responses to a series of statements about attitudes to work. There are 90 statements in all, and an applicant's overall responses are rated green, amber or red. The colour reflects the attitudes the applicant has about work and people. This helps to show which roles a person is best suited to.
British Gas does not take applicants with red ratings further as they may not show a 'fit' with the company requirements. However after an initial screening, green and amber applicants are invited to an interview and assessment centre for the final selection process. Here, candidates must show evidence of qualifications, ID and driving licence.