‘Getting more women into the railway is key to better performance’ says Network Rail: Mark Carne Everyone Summit speech Oct 17

Friday 6 Oct 2017

‘Getting more women into the railway is key to better performance’ says Network Rail


New research undertaken by Network Rail has found that better performing teams are those that are diverse in their make-up, especially in their gender mix.

Teams that are evenly balanced between men and women perform best while a 20% critical minimum threshold mix delivers notable improvements including:

  • More engaged and motivated teams
  • Lower sickness rates
  • More productive
  • More collaborative

The research, which builds on previous work undertaken by business consultancy giant, McKinsey, in this area has led Network Rail to set new internal targets for its business units to have at least 20% of women in place.*

Delivering a speech on ‘Why gender diversity matters’ at Network Rail’s ‘Everyone Summit’ today, Mark Carne, chief executive, said: “The truth is that as a leader, a manager, a husband and a father, what troubles me most is the thought that talented women in my life might not reach their potential because men like me did not do enough.

“Gender equality is definitely unfinished business but I want the railway to play its part in finishing what it helped start over one hundred years ago.”

Other initiatives revealed by Mr Carne in the speech include:

  • Acting to reduce gender stereotyping of children that limits their options and potential
  • Changing the way NR recruits to attract women
  • Retaining more female employee by creating a more inclusive work culture
  • Making sure NR’s best women are supported to progress within the business

Mr Carne said: “We live in a world where 51% of people are women and our workforce should reflect that. We provide a public service and we will do a better job if the people who work for us reflect those we serve.”


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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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