We believe that having a highly skilled and diverse workforce supported by a merit-based culture is an important part of the Group’s growth and success, as well as being fundamental to supporting the wellbeing of our workforce. There has been an increase in competition for skilled labour over the last few years and we welcome recent efforts to remedy this situation (see below – Home Building Skills Partnership). Persimmon’s growth and success has owed a great deal to its committed workforce.
Our investment in recruitment and training has benefited our employees and our Group, as too has a culture that rewards ability, hard work and loyalty. Understanding what motivates our employees and how we can tap into their valuable insights about the business is essential. In addition to the informal conversations that take place during the normal course of each day, where colleagues are encouraged to share their views with managers, we host a series of Chairman’s Dinners at each of our operating businesses. These dinners are an informal opportunity for the Board to reiterate key messages to our local businesses and thank them for their hard work. It is also an opportunity for employees to offer feedback and ask questions of senior management.
Persimmon’s culture is predicated on recognising and rewarding individual contribution that helps us achieve our business objectives. Now in its third year, our Young Achievers Awards celebrate the commitment and successes of our younger employees who, we hope, will be the leaders of tomorrow. More information on this year’s winners and their personal stories can be found here and in the video below:
In 2016, we employed an average of 4,526 people, an 8% increase on the previous year (2015: 4,188). A rapid increase in our number of employees took place during 2013-2015 as a result of the industry’s recovery from the housebuilding downturn in 2008/2009. Going forward, we do not expect this increase to continue at the same rate, however we would expect the opening of any new operating business and our push to engage more directly employed site labour to result in a more gradual headcount growth. Around 25% of the workforce was female (2015: 27%). The total number of days’ training provided to our workforce during the year increased by around 3% with each worker receiving, on average, over 2 days training.
We have continued to support a large number of trainees and apprentices in our business and currently employ c.550 trainees who will benefit from valuable training experience, job security and great career prospects.
We are pleased with the progress we are making with our “Combat to Construction” and “Upskill to Construction” training programmes. These are focused on UK service personnel leaving the armed services and more mature trainees that wish to retrain and gain the trade skills necessary to pursue a successful career with the Group.
Persimmon is also undertaking a programme of engagement with schools, colleges and universities to highlight the career opportunities available in the construction sector generally and with Persimmon specifically. As part of this work, and in conjunction with North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership, Persimmon devised a project assignment for school and college students focusing on designing a housing development. The aim is twofold: first, it seeks to increase understanding of the challenges and complexities of creating new homes; and, secondly, it highlights the wide range of careers within the building sector.
This initiative complements the outreach work of our operating businesses around the country with educational institutions. One example involves Persimmon’s West Scotland business and the relationships it has developed with Glasgow Caledonian University and North Ayrshire College. This has been mutually beneficial to all parties, providing Persimmon with a steady stream of new recruits while giving students a better insight into the house building sector and the opportunities within it.
In 2016 Persimmon was reaccredited by Innovatec AS at the Silver Level for Equality in Employee Management and Service Delivery. This accreditation has been awarded to the whole Group and enables us to demonstrate that we meet and exceed current equality legislation across all areas of our business, consistent with the provisions of The Equality Act 2010.
You can read more about our apprenticeship and trainee schemes and the training and development we provide by clicking on the links below.
Apprentices and trainees
Combat to Construction
Training & development