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Tackling Diversity

TACKLING DIVERSITY

  27 APRIL, 2018
Novus is committed to being an employer of choice. To us this means being a company that is recognised for attracting and employing the best, developing and realising the potential of its people. We have already been recognised as a leading employer by Construction News, winning both Employer of the Year and Apprentice of the Year awards, in the five years since the Novus brand was established. We are fully committed to remaining at the leading edge. This means focusing on building a more diverse workforce with opportunities for personal development and professional fulfilment for all. Understanding our pay gap Women’s hourly rate is 25.9% lower (mean) and 25.4% lower (median). Top salary quartile has 93.3% men and 6.7% women Upper middle salary quartile has 94.8% men and 5.2% women Lower middle salary quartile has 90.3% men and 9.7% women Lower salary quartile has 57.1% men and 42.9% women Women’s bonus pay is 87.2% lower (mean) and 26.4% lower (median) 56.8% of men and 53.5% of women received bonus pay Construction, as an industry, has long suffered from a lack of women joining its professions. We are actively engaged in several initiatives through Business in the Community and Women in Construction where we work alongside our peers to help develop attraction strategies to encourage more women to pursue a career in the sector.  We see a need for Government to help improve funding and resources to help encourage young women to pursue qualifications for construction while at school, tackling the issue at its source. We are committed to finding the best person for every role, irrespective of their gender, but are working hard to ensure our business represents an attractive career option for everyone, to increase the number of female applicants we receive. Our pay gap is a result of a significant majority of our workforce being men, both at an operational level and in management. Women currently represent approximately 15% of our total workforce. Although outside the scope of reporting regulations because of its size, JSSH Limited, the Novus holding company, is proud to have an equal representation of men and women on its board. Whilst this is not yet reflected within Novus, our Board of Directors are passionate about achieving greater diversity at the senior management level. Putting the business on the path towards achieving and sustaining a diverse workforce at all levels is an important part of Novus’ long-term goals.   Closing the gap We are determined to close our gender pay gap but recognise that this will require a long-term strategic approach. Our Board is developing an action plan in response to the Gender Pay Gap report, which we will announce to our teams later this year.
Supporting the next generation of tradespeople

SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION OF TRADESPEOPLE

  05 MARCH, 2018
Neil Hand, Our CEO, who started with Novus as an apprentice explains the importance of apprenticeships Supporting the next generation of tradespeople is integral to our business and it is something we have successfully done for over 80 years now. This year we will recruit 21 apprentices across the country. The scheme is a fantastic chance for young people with the right attitude and potential to start to build a career with our support. Our apprenticeship scheme provides people with personalised practical skills required for future roles in the industry. Our people will support our apprentices to develop their skills and maximise their potential and prepare them for future opportunities. We want to inspire, empower and motivate people to make a difference. When I joined the company over 35 years ago, I never considered that I would become the CEO, but it’s a testament to the support network provided by the company that I was able to do so. Each year we hold an Apprentice Selection week in August, where we bring all of the shortlisted apprentice hopefuls together to learn all of the Health and Safety knowledge you need before venturing out on site. We take the Apprentice hopefuls over to a chosen community project to put them to the test, under the watchful eye of a dedicated project team and our training team. Making a positive contribution and helping to improve people’s lives is such an important part of the Novus way, so this is a great start for a Novus apprentices’ career. We want people who believe in the Novus Way. (Read more about the Novus Way here) If you would like to become an apprentice with Novus keep an eye out for our apprentice recruitment campaign launching next month.
The rise of the mid-sized contractor

THE RISE OF THE MID-SIZED CONTRACTOR

  02 MARCH, 2018
Neil Hand, our CEO, explains why the industry should look to the mid-sized contractor to tackle its challenges Carillion’s downfall needs to mark a huge reformation for the construction sector. I won’t bore you by adding to the wealth of op-eds written about how the fall-out of the business will affect the market over the years to come – although I admit this can’t be understated. As well as the impact on the supply chain, we need to also be discussing the key question Carillion’s fall has raised around the industry’s margins: are they in any way sustainable? There’s no doubt that the industry will be challenged like never before in the coming years – particularly in the case of a hard Brexit. While the IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index and ONS output data are crude aggregates that treat our diverse sector as if it were a homogenous entity, and as a result don’t always tell the best story of the sectors’ success, both are charting quarter-on-quarter decline. There are many areas where underlying growth prospects remain strong. Social housing, which accounts for a significant proportion of Novus’ revenues, continues to invest in development schemes and maintenance cycles. There are also large capital expenditure projects covering new build and refreshing existing assets in hotels, leisure and grocery retail. But as I say, there are going to be challenges. We’re already seeing materials prices rise – some by as much as 7.5 per cent. Skills, diversity, training, and recruitment will all be affected if we don’t take care of our businesses.Of course, many of the largest players in the market feel the need to drive down prices in the race to secure mammoth frameworks to comfort shareholders. Not to state the obvious, but this acts to tighten the industry’s margins and creates certain expectations from clients. Regardless of the market you play in, we all need to be turning this view around. We must get better at demonstrating how our pricing works to clients. We need to be honest in how this affects the long-term viability of the sector, not just their own projects. Even taking in economies of scale, the largest of businesses need to be financially secure and have budgets for training and attracting new blood in the industry – a key pressure point for the industry with Brexit seemingly destined to continue to impact labour. In the current climate, this comes more naturally when you operate in the sector’s middle tier. You are less exposed to the supply chain risks of SMEs serving the struggling goliaths. But nimbler than the majors, allowing you to focus on areas where workloads are growing or stable. There are also better opportunities to develop long-term relationships with clients too. Some of our clients have been stung by their own procurement processes when they favour the lowest price. After project failures or contract disputes they’ve retendered and chosen us. By having an up-front approach we’ve been able to develop longer relationships, which of course helps us minimise the amount of cash we need to allocate to new client acquisitions. It’s for this reason that we’ll likely see mid-sized contractors tackle issues like diversity and attracting new blood quickest. But it’s a lesson that can be learnt by the wider sector. It should be adopting the same push-back on clients in the initial stages. Without this, the entire industry is at risk of continuing the same cycle and Carillion won’t be the last.
Rolling out fire safety seminars with Hilti

ROLLING OUT FIRE SAFETY SEMINARS WITH HILTI

  08 DECEMBER, 2017
Working together with global construction technology specialists Hilti, we've completed a series of seminars on fire safety and passive fire protection. Together we've co-hosted eight events nationwide to date, educating over 85 people in total, with plans to roll the seminars out further in 2018. The events offered those working within the industry the chance to undertake their continuous professional development, and learn more about why maintenance companies should take a ‘total’ fire safety approach to their work. The seminars were free of charge to attend and were aimed at dispelling some of the myths around fire safety.  This includes not just the materials used such as fire retardant coatings, but also ensuring that the correct inspections, repairs and replacements are completed when required. Novus director Lee Hartley explained: “As a FIRAS certified contractor, we have undergone an extensive assessment on this matter, and following the tragic events we’ve witnessed this year, we wanted to help educate people within our own industry on the good and bad practices encountered with fire protection works. These seminars explain how contractors must take an all-encompassing approach to fire safety ensuring high levels of workmanship at all times. “These seminars give us a chance to introduce some of our key partners and clients to the experts at Hilti and challenge some of the myths that still exist around passive fire protection and in particular the correct specification and installation of fire protection products. “The events we have hosted to date have been very well received and we believe we have helped a lot of our delegates to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the work contractors must undertake to ensure best practice in fire safety.” We work closely with market-leading fire protection product manufacturers including Hilti, and have been awarded its“Approved Contractor” status for passive fire protection.
PRESS OFFICE
Sophie Seddon-Hall
Telephone: 07973 345873
Email: sophie.seddon@novussolutions.co.uk
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