Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story


#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #EmbraceEquity #IWD2023 #PledgeLessPlastic #WomenInArb #WomenInTrees & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 2024 30 Under 30 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation Addiction advice AFAG AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards Anthropology APF APF 2020 APF 2022 app APPGHG application Appointment apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ARB Worker Zone ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboretum Arboricultural Association Arboricultural Journal Arboricultural Student Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments Assessors at atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats Bats & Trees beetle Benjamin Zephaniah Best Student Award beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity Biodiversity Net Gain biomechanical biosecurity Birmingham TreePeople BNG Book Prize Book Shop Booking Books Bookshop boundaries branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 BSI Budgeting Tool bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for Abstracts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane Canopy Climbing Collective carbon career careers Cavanagh CAVAT CCS Cellular Confinement Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv CEO Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show City & Guilds Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing code Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Conference India Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Continuous Professional Development Contractor Contractor Focus Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronation Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Countryside Code Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary David Lonsdale deadwood death debate Debt defra deployment Design Devon Director disease diversity DMM document donate dothistroma downloads draft Drought Dutch elm DWP EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows Emerald Ash Borer England England Tree Action Plan England Tree Strategy English Elm environment Environment Act 2021 environmental EPF Equality equipment Equipment Theft Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European standards European Wood Pastures EUSTAFOR Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid FISA flood flooding for Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR General Election Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Grapple Saws Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Green Recovery Green Up Greneda relief Guarantee guidance Guidance Note Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot Heatwave Hedgerow hedges height Helliwell Help Henry Girling Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Initiatives Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Women’s Day International Year of Plant Health invertebrates Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference IPAF Ips Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso ITCC i-Tree IUFC IWD21 Jo Hedger Job Job Centre Plus job opportunity Jobcentre Plus jobs judgement JustGiving Karabiner Keith Sacre Kent Kew King’s Award for Enterprise Kit land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Recovery Scheme Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence Local Authority Treescapes Fund London longevity LTOA Lynne Boddy Magazine Malawi Managegement Plan manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Member Survey Membership Mental Health mentor MEWPs Midlands Morphophysiology moth' motion Moulton College Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Hedgerow Week National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Natural England NatureScot Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation of OHRG online opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pest Alert pests Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases Petersfield petition Petzl photo Phytophthora Phytophthora pluvialis Pine Processionary Moth plan planning Planning Law Plant Health Plant Healthy planting Plantsman Plantsmans Choice Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE practice Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection PUWER Qualifications Queen’s 70th Jubilee Questionnaire Quotatis ramorum RC Recruitment Red Diesel reference Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rehab Rememberance Day renewal REnvP Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results Retirement retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Safety Bulletins Safety Guides Safety Notice Saftey Salaries Sale school science Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security Seed Gathering Season Seminar seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv Social Benefits of Trees soil soils South East South East Branch South West Speaker spotlight SRT SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope Stationary Rope Technique statutory STIHL Stonehouse Storm strategy student Student Book Prize Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors Succession Successsion Supporter survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight Sycamore Gap symposium T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG Technical technical guide Technical Guides technical officer Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green Telecommunications tender TG3 Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees The Plantsman’s Choice The Queen’s Green Canopy The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Care Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre tree felling Tree Health Tree Health Week Tree Inspection Tree Life tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree pathogen tree planning Tree Planting Tree Production Innovation Fund Tree Protection tree register Tree Risk Tree Shears tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone TreeAlert Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees & Sociey Trees and Society Trees and the Law Trees for Cities Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope typographus UAG Uitlity UK favourite UK&ITCC ukas Ukraine UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree Diversity Urban Tree World Cup urban trees UTD4 Utility Approved Contractors Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy Vanuatu VETcert veteran trees video Videos Virtual ARB Show volunteer voting VTA WAC Wales Wales Branch Warning Watering Watering Campaign watering solutions Watering Young Trees Webinar webinars website Wednesday Webinars Wellbeing Western Westonbirt Wharton White Paper WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture Womens Arb Camp woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Work Work at Height Workshops World Environment Day World Fungi Day Xylella young Young Arboricultural Professional Young Arboricultural Professional Award young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event Young Tree Aftercare Youth Programme zoo

Tree officers’ Diversity and Inclusion Report

Author:  Rosie Dobson
Last Updated:  04/08/2023

Rosie Dobson

The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) Diversity and Inclusion Working Party (DIWP), in association with the Association of Tree Officers (ATO), has launched the 2022 ATO Diversity and Inclusion Report.

The ATO’s National Diversity and Inclusion Report

There has been a recent, noticeable increase in efforts to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the workplace and society. Increasing diversity in the workforce can provide advantages to employers by increasing the pool of potential employees, to include a broader range of qualifications, backgrounds and experiences. For tree officers, having greater diversity improves our ability to represent the communities that we serve.

The DIWP was formed in 2018 to investigate barriers to accessing the tree officer profession, to understand the current state of D&I within London tree officers, and to make changes and recommendations to improve accessibility and outreach. In 2019 London tree officers were asked to complete a D&I questionnaire and the results were published in 2020. The findings provided valuable insight into the diversity of London tree officers but did not give a complete picture of diversity within the UK tree officer profession, and so, in 2021, an updated and expanded questionnaire was sent to all ATO members and to the Tree Officer Forum.

181 completed questionnaires were received. The survey results presented in the report were analysed by the DIWP, including comparisons with national statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and with information published by other organisations/institutions. The findings identify areas where diversity is low, provide details on barriers to entry to and progression in the industry, and inform suggested actions to address these barriers and improve diversity and inclusion in the tree officer profession.

Survey findings

The survey findings indicated some positive elements of diversity in the tree officer profession and some areas in need of improvement. The results indicated that tree officers are not representative of the population they serve in areas such as gender, ethnicity and nationality with more tree officers being white or male or British than the general population. 85% of respondents stated they had no religion or were agnostic or atheist, in comparison to 29% of the UK population who stated they had no religion or responded ‘other’ in the UK Census 2011.

23% of respondents considered themselves to be neurodiverse, in comparison to 12% of the wider population, indicating that the profession may be well suited to the needs of neurodiverse people. Conversely, 6% of the respondents considered themselves to be disabled compared to 14% of the UK labour force, implying that the physicality of the sector may be a barrier to entry to people with a disability.

The survey included questions on tree officers’ backgrounds, training and qualifications. Unsurprisingly, 41.5% of respondents came from tree surgery, forestry or horticulture backgrounds, revealing a narrow range of paths into the profession. However, the results also revealed a wide range of influences and other factors leading respondents to enter the profession, including a love of nature, family or friends’ advice, careers advice, or experience in countryside management, local government and a wide range of other professions. ATO will shortly be publishing a range of pathways into the tree officer profession to demonstrate the range of options and support new entrants.

Only 6.1% of respondents were in assistant or other trainee-level roles, indicating a lack of such positions for new starters.

Over 57% of respondents worked in London and the south-east, indicating that the questionnaire may not have reached tree officers in other regions. The results could also indicate that there are more job opportunities in the south-east.

Barriers to entry?

Respondents were asked to identify barriers to entering the profession and ways in which these barriers could be overcome. Some respondents referred to very specific barriers, such as unconscious bias, sexism and lack of career opportunities, but other respondents stated that they had not experienced any barriers to entering the profession. The most commonly cited barriers were: an exclusionary industry culture, including sexism and unconscious bias; lack of jobs, training and funding for training; lack of career advice and career progression; and the low profile of the industry. Respondents recommended more engagement with schools and colleges, improved career advice, increased promotion of the industry in general, use of apprenticeships and in-house training, and improved career progression and salaries.

Suggested actions

The report includes aims and actions for industry organisations, for individuals and for employers. Employers are recommended to provide equality and diversity training, increase part-time roles, entry-level jobs and apprenticeships, promote training and work experience opportunities, reach out to wider communities with job adverts, provide support for individual employees needs, and promote and practise healthy working habits. The report suggests individuals can undertake diversity and inclusion training, practise good working habits and promote the industry through outreach and attendance at promotional events.

The report suggests that industry organisations can offer training and qualifications, including diversity and inclusion training as well as vocational and professional qualifications, can provide apprenticeship opportunities, can engage with educational providers and offer career advice, and can undertake further investigations into the barriers to entering the profession. The recommendations clearly link with the aims of the Arboricultural Association’s Women in Arboriculture Group which seeks to promote the industry, support women in the industry, support culture change and encourage a diverse and inclusive working environment for all.

The importance of diversity and inclusion is clear. Tree officers from a range of different backgrounds and experiences generate more ideas, creativity and innovation, which in turn improve problem solving and decision making, and so bring strength and resilience to our profession. Greater diversity and inclusion make us better able to represent our own communities and to address the shared challenges that we face.

The report is available here: www.ltoa.org.uk/docs/ATO-2022-diversity-report.pdf

The working party would like to thank Treework Environmental Practice and Connick Tree Care for their support in producing the report.

Rosie Dobson is a member of the London Tree Officers Association Diversity and Inclusion Working Party.

This article was taken from Issue 202 Autumn 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.