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Vivienne Kavanagh

Employee Development and Equality Executive, Dublin Bus

In order to successfully create a diverse workforce, we need to look at the value of doing so.

Recent research by McKinsey highlights how employees are increasingly asking for more decisive action from their organisations when it comes to building truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. To achieve this, I believe it is important to see diversity from a values perspective.

As Employee Development and Equality Executive at Dublin Bus, Ireland’s largest public transport provider, I am responsible for managing and implementing the learning and development strategy for the company, as well as leading the award-winning work in the area of diversity and inclusion over a number of years.

Making diversity part of culture

Simply complying with our legal requirements is not enough. Instead, as leaders, we should be proactive in making diversity and inclusion a building block of our organisations’ culture.

Since I joined the company in 1999, we have significantly increased our workforce to 3,650 people from 73 different countries. Today 21% of our employees are from outside of Ireland. We also introduced an industry leading Workplace Gender Transition Policy, which won a CIPD Ireland HR Awards for Diversity & Inclusion in 2018.

A priority in recent years has been the focus on recruiting more women into the organisation. This is a worldwide challenge in the transport industry.

Increasing recruitment diversity

Over the last 20 years, we have closely tracked how the demographics of our employees have changed and this has continuously influenced what we focus on in terms of diversity and inclusion. A priority in recent years has been the focus on recruiting more women into the organisation. This is a worldwide challenge in the transport industry, but it is something that we are committed to in the long term.

One of the most important campaigns in the last number of years is our female recruitment initiative implemented to encourage more women to apply for the position of bus driver. In August 2019, we held one of our first recruitment days when only 3.79% of our drivers were women. That has increased to 5.27%. In total, we have seen a 49.5% increase over two years which shows the benefit and success of holding events like this specifically for women.

By showcasing ourselves as an organisation that can be progressive and innovative, we hope to demonstrate to other organisations from all industries the benefits that come from encouraging diversity and fostering inclusion.

I am proud to be working for a company that reflects modern Ireland and the diversity of the communities we serve.

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