UK workplace diversity and inclusion progress has stalled

diversity and inclusion progressWhile many UK employers have increased their diversity and inclusion focus, progress on gender parity, age, socio-economic status and sexual orientation has stalled, according to new research.

Alfa, Barclays, Britvic, Havas, KPMG, Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions, Pfizer, Royal Mail, Verizon, and Yahoo took part in Dial Global’s Diversity review 2023, which measured facets of workplace diversity and inclusion to assess sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, mental health and wellbeing, and parenthood.

The report highlighted that 84% now have a chief diversity officer or an equivalent role, and there has been an increase in the number of employers with at least one senior leadership member from an ethnic minority background. However, on average there is still a 1:4 split of ethnic minority to white leaders.

Only 34% have 50/50 representation at the top and only two out of five senior leadership members are female. Just 58% had LGBTQ+ representation on their leadership team, up from 35% in 2022, while the same number approved an LGBTQ+ strategy in the past 12 months.

More than three-quarters (78%) have specific outreach programmes to target candidates from lower socio-economic areas or socio-economic backgrounds, although 49% collect and monitor data on this. Meanwhile, 73% have measures in place to reduce age bias in recruitment, while 32% provide training geared towards older workers.

Eight in nine have a relevant mental health strategy in place, and 93% were keen to support employees with access to quality care. As many as 94% enable staff to take time off for religious holidays and holy days, while also allowing the wearing of religious symbols and clothing (90%) and free discussions about religion and belief in the workplace (88%).

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A majority (90%) promote the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce and 74% offer inclusivity training on how to work in a culturally diverse workplace.

Leila McKenzie-Delis, chief executive officer of Dial Global, said: “Businesses are recognising now that tracking and measuring diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity seriously ensures a more successful business performance, while also allowing them to see their reputation amongst current and prospective employees, customers and shareholders improve. We need to see more organisations moving the dial on all facets, which is an ongoing challenge, but one we should continue to push forward if we are to truly level the playing field.”