8th March, 2014



-UK’s winter risk management industry should be more inclusive-


The UK’s winter gritting industry has – historically – always had a low representation of women. Very few apply for jobs, and there are also challenges in retaining women who have chosen to work in it. That’s according to Vicky Lopez, a co-founder and director of De-Ice, one of the UK’s longest-established and leading winter gritting and snow clearance specialists.


She comments: “As an owner of a gritting and snow clearance business, which has been around for some time now, I am aware – first-hand – of how few women there are across all levels of the industry. In the world of gritting, not only are women hugely underrepresented at the operational ‘gritter’ level but also in leadership and managerial roles.


“The winter risk management industry is a diverse and exciting one to work in, and over the last few harsh winters it has brought with it many opportunities. The work is often reactive in nature, so it can be good for women who want to work more flexibly, and as part of a wider team.”


Lopez believes that organisations that actively develop and implement strategies to recruit and retain women will ultimately reap the business benefits of gender diversity and equality. She adds:


“A diverse workforce creates greater harmony and naturally leads to better decision making as different employees bring varying experiences and perspectives to a company. It is therefore, important to have diversity at all levels of an organisation.


“I firmly believe that now is the time to address increasing the representation of women in this industry. As a business, we actively encourage women to join – at all levels, and have representation in management and also at operational level. We are also proud of our employee retention figures.”


She concludes: “The future of every business depends on having an adequate supply of skilled employees, and at De-Ice we are striving to encourage more female candidates into not only our business but the sector itself. To replicate this success and grow diversity, the gritting industry needs to better promote these opportunities.”