Office for Nuclear Regulation

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ONR reports positive progress made on reducing gender pay gap

November 30, 2021 – 8:45 am Category: Corporate publications, Homepage, News

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has today released its annual Gender Pay report which shows good progress in achieving one of its key aims of shaping a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Results have revealed a small but positive decrease in the gender pay gap, dropping from 27.6% to 25.3% during the last 12 months.

Since ONR first reported on the subject in 2017, the gender pay gap has fallen by 7.64%.

Notable steps forward in the report include the make-up of our 11-strong Board, which now features five women, and there are currently 22% of women in senior leadership roles, up from 6% in 2016.

ONR has looked to engage fully with other organisations in the sector – including the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group and Women in Nuclear – to bring about positive change within the gender pay gap.

As a regulator, ONR is committed to supporting the Nuclear Sector Deal, which pledges to meet the government’s target of 40% of nuclear industry employees to be female by 2030.

Currently, 34% of our workforce is female, meaning ONR stands just 6% away from its target, with nine years still before the agreed deadline.

To work to address this, our recruitment campaigns during the last year have featured female role models within ONR, including those in senior leadership roles.

This has helped to bring a marked increase of female applicants to ONR of 19%, for 2020/21, more than doubling within the last four years, and up from just under 8% in 2016/17.

The nuclear graduates training programme continues to show impressive results since it started in 2014, and so far, 36% of the ONR sponsored participants have been women.

Within that, 12 women have subsequently joined ONR as technical specialists on permanent appointments through this route.

ONR is also pleased to be promoting greater gender equality in conjunction with the BBC’s 50:50 campaign, by aiming to have 50% female representation across all our corporate media content and publications.

Although there is an assurance within the organisation for ongoing work to further reduce the gender pay gap, the current position is not unexpected, given ONR’s workforce profile and that of the industry from which we draw and pay premiums required to attract and retain niche staff.

Historically, the nuclear sector has struggled to recruit as many women as men into our technical roles, which attract a higher premium rate of pay, with the proportion of men employed in higher grades at ONR significantly greater at 75%, within the senior bands 1-3.

Female colleagues are more commonly employed in largely support and administrative roles within the corporate and operational functions.

This is because ONR has recruited technical specialists from a nuclear industry where men predominated in the STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and maths.

To try and alleviate this traditional trend, ONR has extended its outreach and targeted its activity to ensure it promotes adequate opportunities for female students to explore maths and science throughout primary and secondary school and encourage them to pursue career paths in STEM subjects.

Dave Caton, Human Resources Director for ONR, said: “We know that we continue to have a gender pay gap and that there remains more to be done to improve this.

“As we take steps to establish a truly inclusive culture, we are heading in the right direction with continued focus on improving our diversity and inclusivity, and we must ensure that how we recognise and reward the contribution of all is an important element of that.

“We remain fully committed, at all levels of ONR, to building a workforce that is reflective of the society we operate in and to continue to act and report on our progress.

“ONR is continually working to promote and put in place an ever-increasing culture which supports women and their progression to greater levels of representation at more senior levels and create an environment that empowers and supports women over the long-term.

“This calls for cultural change, across our organisation and the nuclear industry more widely.”

ONR has developed a STEM strategy, working with the Nuclear Energy Agency, titled ‘Mentoring a Future Generation of Female Leaders in Science and Engineering’ which will aim to inspire and support young women and girls to become the next generation of nuclear engineers, scientists and specialists and positively improve the gender balance.

Today’s annual report also backed up the finding that ONR’s current gender pay gap does not reflect an equal pay issue and is not related to paying men and women differently.

Research into barriers to women’s progression in the workplace has shown that their caring and children responsibilities can sometimes conflict with expectations of constant work availability and excess workloads.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further allowed ONR the opportunity to consider new ways of working and offer greater flexibility in terms of where and when people work, which will hopefully be of benefit to women when looking for jobs and when promoting ONR as an attractive employer of choice.

Read the full ONR Gender Pay Report 2021

Apprentices impress to gain full time jobs

March 13, 2015 – 12:59 pm Category: Homepage, Jobs, News, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Press releases
Four young people in officeONR apprentices gain full-time roles

Five apprentices at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) have been offered permanent positions.

They are based at ONR’s head office in Bootle and work in administration posts across the organisation.

Their apprenticeships were due to run until summer 2015. But the five impressed so much that they were offered full time jobs after just four months.

Dave Caton, ONR HR Director, said: “All the apprentices have been absolutely fantastic and rose to the challenge.”

This week is National Apprenticeship Week (March 9-13) which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service. It is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Two of ONR’s successful apprentices reflected on their achievements:

Adam said: “I am delighted that we have all been offered full time positions following a successful apprenticeship scheme. It has been a pleasure to work here while having the opportunity to develop my key skills further in business and administration. A full time job is the ultimate reward for the work that we have all put in since joining ONR.”

Becky added: “It is a fantastic feeling to know I have ‘job security’ after initially being an apprentice.”

ONR has just welcomed four new apprentices at its sites in Bootle and Cheltenham.


Kayleigh’s International Nuclear Mission

February 12, 2015 – 1:54 pm Category: Homepage, News, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

Kayleigh Harden

A young nuclear inspector will play a key role in a global study into the decommissioning of nuclear facilities damaged as a result of neglect, accidents or conflicts.

Kayleigh Harden, from Warrington, works for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). ONR independently regulates nuclear safety and security across the UK.

Kayleigh, 28, is one of Britain’s youngest nuclear inspectors. Her regular work revolves around inspecting Sellafield, the nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria.

She will now also lend her expertise to an international working group assessing lessons learned from the decommissioning and remediation of damaged nuclear facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) three-year project will evaluate case studies such as the accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine and Iraq’s Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Centre which was heavily damaged in the Gulf War. It will also focus on legacy facilities such as those at the UK’s Sellafield site.

Kayleigh travelled to Vienna recently to meet with IAEA colleagues from around the world as they embark on the DAROD project (Decommissioning and Remediation of Damaged Nuclear Facilities).

She was appointed vice-chair of the DAROD regulatory working group and will contribute to a final report which will highlight lessons learnt and disseminate practical guidance to operators and regulators of nuclear facilities around the world.

Kayleigh said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and ONR to be involved in such a significant project. It is a new challenge and means I can play a key role in positively influencing the final report.

“ONR is seen as an international leader in nuclear regulation. While in Vienna we presented on our regulatory strategy for Sellafield and received very positive feedback. By being part of this IAEA project we will be able to share our work and good practice internationally.”

Kayleigh graduated with a Masters Degree in physics from The University of Manchester in 2009, Her first role was on the nuclear graduate programme at BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness.

From there she joined RSD, now the Regulatory Support Directorate of AMEC Foster Wheeler, where she worked to support the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulatory in a variety of roles before joining ONR in September.

Kayleigh participated in the Nuclear Institute’s Technical Tour of Ukraine in 2013 where she visited the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl.