Embracing a diverse and inclusive culture

True to our Guiding Principles, we are humble and act with moral and intellectual integrity, keep our word, treat everyone with respect, support our colleagues, and embrace diversity.


As the New Zealand operation of WSP, we’re part of a network of 48,000 people across 550 offices in 44 countries. As such diversity is a core part of what makes us successful as a global organisation.

At WSP, we believe that the right balance of diversity and inclusion drives better business performance that is sustained over time, and enables high performance through greater creativity, thought-leadership, and smart decision making. The result is better outcomes for our clients and the WSP team.

We have a proactive focus on eliminating any perceived or real barriers in terms of the traditional areas of diversity i.e. the “visible” differences between people (gender, race, ethnicity, age etc).

However, we also take a broader view of diversity that embraces diversity of thought – where different perspectives and capabilities are the point of difference for us, providing the variety of perspectives necessary to deal with complex problems and enabling us to create innovative solutions.


Action

In June 2018 the WSP Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan was introduced to the business, outlining three immediate areas of focus:

  • Inclusivity
  • Workstreams
  • Awareness Days
  • Partnerships with external organisations
  • Gender
  • Parental leave policy
  • Removal of Gender pay gap
  • Diversity balance
  • Māori and Pasifika
  • Māori business stratgy
  • Sponsorships
  • VIBE
  • Global programme
  • Rainbow Tick

The action plan ensures WSP has a clear view of how to move forward, what success looks like and that we hold ourselves to account through established actions, outcomes and dashboard measures.


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Inclusivity

We have a diverse and representative workforce, it’s of equal importance that the WSP environment is inclusive of gender, race, ethnicity, age etc.
As such, our focus is on raising awareness of the value and importance of inclusivity, and ensuring we have the policies and procedures that drive a supportive and productive workplace.

This has seen us start on the journey to attain the Rainbow Tick, the introduction of a calendar of Awareness Days to share knowledge internally on key days including International Women’s Day, International Men’s Day and longer campaigns around Matariki, Ramadan and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

  • Workstreams
    • Māori and Pasfika
    • Mid-Career Women
    • Flexible Working
    • VIBE New Zealand
  • Awareness Days/Events
  • Partnerships with external organisations
    • SPIES 
    • First Foundation
    • Tupu Toa
    • Diversity Works NZ
    • Rainbow Tick

Gender

Underrepresentation of females in our industry is no secret; we need to attract more females into the profession and keep them, which is why we introduced the following initiatives:

Removal of gender pay gap

After identifying that we had a 7.5% pay gap for people performing similar roles (where there was no apparent reason for the difference) we closed the gap with a remuneration adjustment in 2018, which is tracked on a regular basis. All up 60 employees – 3% of the organisation - were identified in this analysis as being underpaid; 55 females and 5 males.

I have two sons and two daughters and cannot imagine living in a world – or being part of a leadership team of an organisation – where I have to tell my daughters that they get paid less than their brothers because of their gender. That’s unacceptable.
Ian Blair Managing Director, WSP

Parental Leave policy

Our company’s provision has previously been in line with government policy which simply wasn’t good enough. We go to great lengths to attract, develop and engage the best people to be part of our WSP team, so it made good sense for us to look after parents, both in those first weeks as a family and on their return to work especially in such an exciting and challenging time in people’s lives.

The new policy implemented earlier in the year includes:

  • A top up of government-funded leave to full salary for 22 weeks
  • Provision of two weeks Paid Partner Leave
  • Flexible return to work arrangements
  • Annual leave is accrued at full rates
  • People on parental leave eligible for full remuneration reviews

 

The last two factors typically are significant contributors to a pay gap over time, are not required by legislation, and are further evidence of our commitment to support families and primary carers so they are not disadvantaged in remuneration.

Any parent can access these benefits – regardless of gender – should they choose to be the primary caregiver. We also reviewed our flexible work arrangement policies to ensure they are meeting the changing needs of employees.


Māori & Pasifika

WSP has helped shape New Zealand for the last 149 years and it’s important to us to understand, support and embrace our Māori and Pasifika heritage so that it continues to flourish in our industry and New Zealand.  To achieve this our immediate focus is on providing our internal people the skills to understand the Māori world view, maintaining integrity and having safe and ongoing working relations; as well as attracting and retaining Māori and Pasifika talent.

Initiatives focused on delivering these objectives are:

  • Employing a national Māori Services Consultant to ensure we respect both legislation and cultural needs when interacting with Iwi.
  • Provision of the First Foundation Te Taumata Tiketike Scholarship – Chris Hammond is the recipient of our inaugural Te Taumata Tiketike
  • Scholarship 2019.  Along with financial support, WSP provides Chris with paid work experience, enabling him to develop skills and networks so that he succeeds in a work environment.
  • Gold sponsorship of the South Pacific Indigenous Engineering Students (SPIES) – SPIES provides a strong foundation for Māori and Pacific students studying engineering at the University of Auckland. The sponsorship provides opportunities for SPIES students to go behind the scenes of a large consultancy and connect with established engineers to learn from their experiences in the industry.
  • Tupu toa – WSP will accommodate five interns as part of our partnership with Tupu Toa.  TupuToa is an innovative internship programme creating pathways for Māori and Pasifika students into careers in the corporate and professional sectors.

VIBE New Zealand

VIBE works with the business to help develop the right environment to enable LGBT+ employees at WSP to reach their full potential, feel comfortable at work and to support our aim to create an inclusive and diverse workplace for everyone. The network is open to all employees - both members of the LGBT+ community and those who are not, but have an interest in LGBT+ issues - at all levels of the business and across all New Zealand offices.

VIBE provides a platform for its members to influence our business culture, and gives them exposure to colleagues from different teams and offices. Our members act as ambassadors, raising the profile of our LGBT+ employees internally and externally, with the ability to participate in or attend a range

The NZ Leadership Team are committed to achieving the Rainbow Tick accreditation, and the Diversity and Inclusion Group are working towards implementing the recommendations, including training for the NZLT and tier three leadership, the introduction of E-module training for the business, increased visibility of diversity on our digital platforms, the launch of the VIBE portal, and increased WSP Opus visibility at Rainbow events.

As part of this process, the Rainbow Tick organisation has identified several initiatives we need to introduce to achieve accreditation. 

They include:

  • Specific training for leaders and the business
  • Internal resources and links to external resources for LGBQT+ employees
  • Increased presence and visibility of Rainbow allies at all levels and across the organisation
  • Increased presence and visibility externally, e.g. Rainbow Tick events, sponsorships, organisation website imagery
  • Ongoing monitoring, training, surveys and reporting to senior management and the impact around LGBQT+ initiatives and impact