The boss of a national housebuilder’s operations in the West is urging more diversity in the industry, as he works on launching a new housing range and six brand-new developments in the region.
Supriya Ray, Western region MD at Bovis Homes
Supriya Ray, managing director of Bovis Homes’ Western region, is looking to encourage more women and candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds to apply for senior roles across sites and offices.
Bovis Homes is launching its new homes collection across the country, including at its Filton location this summer, and is working on new sites in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Monmouthshire.
Sup, whose Indian parents instilled in him a passion for hard work and a hands-on approach to management, said he believed that Bovis Homes employed colleagues on merit, regardless of background, and he would like to see more equality across the sector.
“Being British Indian and having moved school a lot as a youngster, I know the importance of fitting in and making the most of the opportunities you are given,” he said.
“Bovis Homes sees the person and their skills, experience and capability over anything else and during my time as regional managing director I have built a team that reflects the best talent from the region.
“We recruit candidates from all backgrounds, based on the principles of having a hands-on approach, leading by example, approachability, and driving accountability within the team.
“But there is no doubt that while Bovis Homes recruits regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity or disability, and that the industry’s situation has improved in recent years, there is much more that the sector can do on diversity.”
Sup was born in Carlisle after his Dad, a doctor, moved from Kolkata to take up a post in the UK. His parents moved back to India, where Sup attended school for six years before the family moved to Cheltenham in 1992.
He read accounting and finance at Bristol Polytechnic and on graduating joined accountancy firm PwC, where he trained as a chartered accountant for five years. He later went into management at a builders' merchants before starting as an internal auditor at Bovis Homes in 1999.
The father-of-two said it was the housebuilder’s family ethos and impressive reputation in the south west that attracted him to the company. He was promoted to finance and commercial director in 2007, before becoming deputy managing director in 2013 and taking his current role one year later.
The Manchester United fan wanted to become more hands-on with housebuilding and involved in the final product and took opportunities to get involved in other areas of the business, including the technical and build departments.
He said: “Very quickly after joining Bovis Homes I wanted to pursue the operational side. Having a finance background is a terrific foundation but it’s important to be an all-rounder and appreciate all sides of the business, especially relationships with subcontractors and our supply chain.
“But customer satisfaction lies at the core of what we do. We all strive to make customers as happy as we can, to make the process as smooth as possible, so they can enjoy their home in what is one of the most beautiful regions in the UK.”
That approach is paying dividends, with an impressive regional customer recommendation score of 92.6 per cent in an independent industry survey, which measures satisfaction levels across the sector.
He added: “We have the Cotswolds and some other fantastic rural locations, as well as more urban areas, with an eclectic mix of homes, including many made from Cotswold stone, and some great transport links to Bristol, Birmingham, London and other parts of the country.”
Sup said that he was well supported by his regional finance director, Nick Kimber, and the pair hold regular update seminars for Western region colleagues to underline targets and ensure effective communication among all staff. Quarterly company away days and other activities, including sports sessions, help keep morale high.
Sup lives in Cheltenham with his wife Helen and daughters Isla, 8, and Millie, 5. A keen footballer, he runs three days a week after work and loves nothing more than to enjoy a pub lunch, walk and trip to the park with his family at the weekend.
Bovis Homes has asked its recruitment agencies to increase the number of women on its shortlists for interview. Where that is not achieved, the housebuilder seeks to understand the market constraints to better target efforts in attracting women.
The developer also holds diversity events within the business including its recent '100 years, 100 women' event to celebrate women within the company.
Female and other role models in the business are visible and Bovis Homes offers opportunities for everyone to climb up the career ladder if they wish to, into positions that offer the highest salaries.
Meanwhile, Fairford site manager Alan Cruikshanks was last year recognised for excellence in on-site management and delivering for customers at Bovis Homes' Kemble Fields on London Road.
Alan was one of the winners selected for a Quality award from more than 16,000 site managers from across the country and picked up the gong in the South West region of the National House Building Council's Pride in the Job Awards 2018.