In 2017, we reinforced our commitment to our gender diversity priorities by setting quantitative targets for women in leadership and women in engineering. These targets also reflect our commitment to the UN-SDGs.
By 2030, we aim to achieve gender balance for women in leadership positions (compared to 22% at the end of 2016) and increase the percentage of female engineers to 30%, from 9% at the end of 2016.
In 2017, as a proactive measure, we commissioned an independent review of gender pay equity in our Hong Kong workforce, using the recently introduced UK disclosure methodology. At this point no comparable disclosure requirement exists in Hong Kong.
The results of this review confirmed that, based on median pay, we have no female gender pay gap in our Hong Kong workforce. In comparison, based on disclosures up to October 2017 the median gender pay gap in the UK is 18.4%. This outcome is reassuring and reflects the fact that we have a higher percentage of females in professional and managerial positions than in support and operational roles, and are careful to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
To enhance the transparency of the total human resources required to operate and manage our business, and help us manage the risks presented by the extensive use of contractors, from 2018 we will disclose the number of contractors we use in addition to disclosing our employee numbers.
Our social and business environment is characterised by increasing complexity and volatility, and is undergoing transformational changes. This creates significant strategic uncertainty and makes future workforce planning an increasingly challenging process.
Demographic trends have to be factored into our planning. In Hong Kong, this includes an ageing society, our own retirement projection, and increasing competition for fewer numbers of young people.
The transformation of the energy industry to low carbon also has an impact on future demand for staff and skills. Subject to suitable investment opportunities, more staff will be required in Renewable Energy and energy efficiency services. Conversely relatively fewer will be needed in conventional energy.
Adding to the complexity, but potentially a counter-weight to demographic trends, is the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics on the utility industry. The ultimate impact of this is uncertain and speculative, but informed commentators predict significant displacement of basic administrative and operational roles, offset by the creation of new jobs at higher levels of skill. Given the nature of our industry, the potential safety dividend from AI and robotics is also significant.
The broader social and economic impact of these changes could be very significant, and as a responsible corporate citizen we will ensure we do our part to prepare staff for these changes and manage the impact in a prudent and considered manner, taking account of the opportunity for natural adjustment in our workforce provided by our long term retirement projection.
In the face of increasing complexity and uncertainty, flexibility and agility are critical to our being able to adapt quickly to different scenarios. A key contributor to ensuring flexibility and agility is diversity, both in terms of the composition of our workforce and our sources of recruitment.
Consequently we will need to increase external recruitment at all levels, and also recruit talent from more diverse sources. In parallel we will continue to evolve our HR policies to ensure we are able to attract and retain a more diverse pool of talent.
We will also need to be more agile in reallocating resources and skills around our business. As traditional activities need less resources and new business models emerge, we will take advantage of opportunities to allocate highly skilled staff to areas of business growth, and reskill staff where this is necessary and practicable.
Our Management Approach