Network Rail turns the dial on diversity

Diversity matters for the railway of the future.


Network Rail runs the fastest growing railway in Europe and with demand set to double in the next 20 years they’re working on the biggest upgrade in over 150 years. The exceptional results we have achieved have led to our work being shortlisted for the Diversity and Inclusion accolade at the CIPD People Management Awards 2017.

Our new approach has been hugely successful and the results we have achieved in partnership with Amberjack speak for themselves.

Group Talent Acquisition Manager, Network Rail


Network Rail’s customers and the communities they work with are truly diverse, but the organisation is just 16% female and 6% from minority backgrounds. As a result, Network Rail knew they needed to drive diversity, and our partnership fused the know-how, and ambition to make this vision a reality.

Network Rail has a complex early talent landscape hiring over 500 graduates and apprentices across 11 functions in 69 different locations each year. The minority groups Network Rail were most keen to increase representation from were females and those from BAME backgrounds. They also wanted to give all graduate applicants, regardless of background, the best possible chance to succeed.


Any impact Network Rail made in attracting graduates from minority groups was undermined by a process that had significant levels of bias. So it was clear that the selection process needed to be transformed. We validated the selection process and improved it. Diversity barriers were removed, the SJT was remodelled, and new gamified tools were introduced together with Future Focused Scenario Based Questions. This improved candidate engagement, efficiency, and better identified future potential.

Our dedicated campaign management team delivered an exceptional candidate experience managing almost 20,000 candidate communications. Real-time reporting provided complete campaign visibility that enabled accurate pipeline forecasting. This also meant that Positive Action was able to be introduced. To this point Positive Action had been considered impossible and too complex to implement in a volume recruitment context. But our technology and best practice approach made this possible.

Using a tablet


The results our partnership achieved are impressive. Recruitment targets were exceeded despite facing a graduate pipeline which, for many roles, was over 90% white male. In just five months over 10,000 candidate applications were proactively managed resulting in 185 graduate hires, of which more than half were for challenging engineering roles. Female representation was increased 75% on workforce levels and 180% on the previous graduate cohort and BAME representation was a massive 400% increase on the workforce and 200% on the previous cohort.



This demonstrated the impact of the improvements made to the selection process and the quality of the high touch campaign management that were delivered for this fast paced five month campaign.

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