Network Rail

Travelport is a major technology company that creates software for airline merchandising, mobile commerce and B2B payment solutions.

Network Rail is a public-sector organisation responsible for managing the UK’s railway infrastructure. With over 43,000 employees, it is one of the biggest employers in the country. As a WISE strategic partner, the organisation scored highly on all the ten steps and this case study explores the ways in which it approached diversity and inclusion like any other business improvement project. The following actions were undertaken:

  • The organisation collected qualitative and quantitative data to identify the business units that required attention. Data collected included the overall number of women working in Network Rail since 2014 and looked at regional numbers from 2019. The data showed that although numbers increased in all of them, some were structurally less able to attract women than others. These structural differences informed targets for the Gender Matters campaign.
  • The Diversity & Inclusion team set clear targets with practical actions. These included two initiatives, ‘the 20 by 20’ project which ran between 2017 and 2020 and the Gender Matters project (under the umbrella project, Everyone Matters) to run between 2020 and 2024. They both set specific targets to improve gender parity within the organisation. Actions included creating facilities for women on track such as restrooms and ladies’ toilets; a Women in Leadership programme; a mentoring programme; an ‘Inclusive by Design’ approach to recruitment; and a ‘returners programme’.
  • Network Rail learnt lessons from new rounds of data collection and found that the lack of job applications from women was one reason its targets weren’t met, the practical actions to be undertaken as part of Gender Matters aim to address this. Network Rail also realised, after collecting qualitative data from staff, that the cultural piece such as facilities and welfare on track or the exclusionary impact of ‘banter’ in the workplace were having a negative effect on female staff retention.
  • Accountability and benchmarking are also key to approaching Diversity & Inclusion like any other business improvement project. Network Rail’s Diversity & Inclusion team provide monthly progress updates at a national, regional, and local level. A Women in Leadership team meets every two months and assesses Diversity & Inclusion activity. The organisation also publishes a mandatory yearly gender pay gap report. Finally, Network Rail is a WISE strategic partner and uses The 10 Steps Programme to benchmark its progress.
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