ERM & L’ORÉAL DE&I Health and Safety Survey 18 Jul 2022
ERM and L’Oréal in association with OneWISH have initiated a research around gender diversity and inclusion in the Health & Safety profession through a global survey and interviews, in order to start a discussion around the importance of this subject.
To coincide with the results of this DE&I Health and Safety Survey, we talked to L’Oréal’s Global Vice President, Health & Safety and Co-Founder of OneWISH, Malcolm Staves, who co-sponsored the research.
“It fits in with my belief about where the profession is going: we need more collaboration, empathy, listening skills and teamwork; those aren’t necessarily masculine traits. It’s logical we should have a better balance.”
Malcolm Staves is talking about his reasons, both for co-founding the OneWISH Coalition and for co-sponsoring the new research by consultancy ERM into gender diversity and inclusion in the health and safety profession. The idea for the study came in March last year, he says, when ERM’s then Chief Executive Keryn James made the keynote presentation on Building a thriving workforce at OneWISH’s virtual conference on International Women’s Day.
“Keryn talked about a survey ERM had done of a few hundred senior EHS professionals to find out where they thought the profession was going. Within that she extracted some data about the low number of female participants in the survey. That really brought it home,” he says. “I wanted this report to build on that.”
Though there is welcome discussion currently on the lack of diversity in the health and safety profession – some of it driven by OneWISH – there is less research evidence on the issue, Malcolm says. “It would be good to make the argument as to why it is important with some concrete data. But also to interview people and ask people how they feel and what they think the priorities are. I was hoping to be able to highlight where the pain points are in something that would be put in the public domain.”
Among the things that stood out from the report’s findings, he says, was that male respondents ranked a lack of “willingness to relocate” as one of the top three factors hindering women’s advancement to general leadership roles and in the health and safety field – while female respondents did not rate it as a barrier. “I think it’s a bias; it’s not my perception,” he says of the male preconception that female colleagues are less likely to move for work, and that extends to mobility more generally. “I have men in my team who don’t want to travel too much and women who are quite happy to be travelling one or two weeks a month whatever it takes to do the job.”
As well as helping OneWISH promote wider awareness of the issues, Malcolm says the research will help him keep the issue of gender balance in the safety function front of mind in his own organisation. “It’s aligned with the values of the L’Oréal group,” he says of the study. “We do a lot to promote women in science.”
“We have a L’Oréal Women in Safety Network,” he adds, “of which 20% of the steering committee are men. It’s promoting what women in safety are doing. “We are going to communicate the findings through that group globally and will communicate them internally as well.
“The report gives us something to talk about and to share with others,” he concludes.
You can see the results of this survey in full here