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Willmott Dixon’s chief people officer awarded OBE for work promoting a diverse and inclusive construction industry

Willmott Dixon’s chief people officer Rick Lee has been recognised with an OBE for services to Business and Equality in the 2021 New Year Honours list.

Rick has been at the forefront of Willmott Dixon’s drive to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which includes the aspiration to achieve gender parity across all levels of the business by 2030.  He has also utilised this experience to improve the representation of women across industry as a member of the influential Women’s Business Council, which helps shape new initiatives and policy as well as promoting best practice.

This latest accolade for promoting workplace inclusion follows Willmott Dixon being the UK’s highest placed construction company in the FT’s annual list of the top European leaders for workplace diversity and inclusion, coming 43rd overall out of 850 organisations ranked for their approach to inclusivity.   The company was also named in this year’s The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list, the second consecutive time it has appeared on the list.

Rick says, “I am very honoured to receive an OBE, which I feel is also a reflection on how Willmott Dixon and the wider construction industry is making huge progress to becoming a more diverse and inclusive place to work.

“It’s a real privilege for me to work with a fantastic team at Willmott Dixon and the Women’s Business Council to drive this issue forward and develop ways we can take meaningful actions to ensure more women enjoy a rewarding career in construction. It’s already creating a positive change at Willmott Dixon, highlighted by the fact that 40 per cent of our trainee managers are now women, while the percentage of women in our workforce is up to 27.4 per cent, compared with an industry average of 13.3 per cent*.”

As part of its ambition to achieve gender parity, Willmott Dixon also provides diversity and inclusion training to its entire workforce, and was one of the first contractors to roll out agile working on construction sites. From January 2021, it will be introducing its new homeworking arrangements and allowance for those working from home one day or more per week, with the aim to give men and women the opportunity to adopt agile working.