Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Baroness Smith of Llanfaes
Press releases

Openreach creates 4,000 new jobs after a record year for hiring women engineers

20% of engineers hired in 2021 were women, up from less than 5% in 2018/19


5 min read Partner content

Openreach today announced it will create and fill more than 4,000 jobs during 2022 – including around 3,000 apprenticeships – as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its broadband network, people and training.

The new recruits will be based throughout the UK, working to build and connect customers to the company’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network - which is on track to reach 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026. The hiring spree is part of the largest recruitment drive in Openreach’s history, and will also help deliver further improvements in customer satisfaction, which is at a record high[i].

Openreach already employs the UK’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals, and has committed to building a more diverse and inclusive team in an industry that’s traditionally been very white, male dominated. Last year, the company attracted 600 women into trainee engineering roles – more than double the previous year. The boost was thanks partly to employing language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, said: “Openreach is a people business first and foremost, so I’m proud that we’re continuing to invest heavily in our people, having hired and trained more than 8,000 new engineers over the last two years. We’re rightly recognised as one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve been building state of the art training schools all over the country where we can teach people the skills and techniques they need for long, exciting and rewarding careers in engineering.

“We want to reflect the communities we serve and give opportunities to people from all backgrounds, so I’m encouraged that we’ve recruited more women and minority groups this year compared to last year, but we’ve got much more to do in an industry that hasn’t been very diverse historically.

“These new recruits will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in the UK, covering millions of rural and urban homes.”

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Decent jobs provide the best route for people to progress, improve their lives and support their families so it’s great news that Openreach has created 4,000 new jobs in the largest recruitment drive in its history.

“The government is investing £5 billion to ensure that everyone will have the same access to gigabit-capable broadband, and its hugely welcome to see Openreach invest in the next generation of telecoms engineers and professionals who will help deliver this ambitious objective and grow our economy for the future”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “I firmly believe in the importance of supporting women in STEM and am delighted to see Openreach doubling the number of women in trainee engineering roles last year.

“Investing in creating thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships will also boost our mission to level-up communities, support economic growth and give more people across the country the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential.”

Andy Kerr, CWU Deputy General Secretary said: “The CWU welcome the creation of the 4,000 new jobs this year including 3,000 apprenticeships. We have worked with the company to ensure that all those employed will have access not only to good quality jobs on appointment but career structures in the future. The transition to fibre continues to create fantastic opportunities for existing employees as well these new recruits. The CWU has championed the diversity and inclusion agenda seeking to ensure a more diverse workforce reflective of our communities and welcome the company’s commitment to this.”

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “We are on a mission to level up the UK with better broadband so we need highly skilled telecoms workers who can innovate and speed up the roll out. 

“It's fantastic to see Openreach taking on thousands more people, creating a more diverse workforce and helping us deliver our £5 billion scheme to lift hard-to-reach areas out of the digital slow lane."

The new roles offer a very competitive starting salary[ii] and long-term career prospects, but candidates don’t need any formal qualifications to apply. All you need is a driving license, a strong work ethic, great customer service skills and an enthusiasm to work outdoors – Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need to do the rest. Click here for a full list of employee benefits

Alongside its recruitment drive, Openreach has committed to represent ONS measured levels of ethnic diversity[iii] across the UK and is aiming for at least 20 percent of its trainee engineer recruits to be women this year, with 50 percent of its external hires into management also to be women by 2025. You can read more about the company’s commitments to Diversity and Inclusion here.

Openreach also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year – changing their focus from fixing older, copper-based technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre connections.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, recently opened the company’s newest training centre in Thornaby which is the latest of 11 regional training schools it has built and upgraded across the country. Around 25,000 engineers pass through these centres every year across the UK, receiving a combined 180,000 days in training.

[i] Openreach is on track to deliver all 30 Ofcom-mandated quality of service standards, having delivered a best ever Q3 for ‘on time repair’ and ‘on time provision’ measures. 91% of customers surveyed score Openreach 8 or more out of 10 for customer satisfaction.

[ii] New trainee engineering roles come with a starting salary of £21,845 and recruits can be earning up to £28,353 after 12 months of specialist training to achieve an NVQ level 2, in one of our world class training centres.

[iii] Openreach has set ethnic minority representation targets for all management, talent entry and team member recruitment in both desk and field roles on a regional basis, so we reflect the local population (data defined by the ONS). As a minimum we will match regional ethnic minority representation in all our recruitment and share these outcomes on a regular basis.

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