Tag: Equality

Employers should increase their monitoring of pay, progression and training by age

According to research by the National Institute of Economic Research, women over 50 in Scotland require greater support in the workplace to address persistent inequalities in pay and progression. The research was conducted on behalf of Scotland’s Fair Work Convention.

Older workers now comprise around a third of the Scottish workforce, with the number set to increase in the coming years. However, existing data shows that women in this age group often experience greater inequalities in pay than younger women in relation to men. The report called for employers to take action to improve the experiences and opportunities for older women at work.

The research report covered women over 50 and employers in two specific sectors in Scotland: the finance/insurance sector; and the information/communications sector.

According to the research, women over 50 face a number of barriers to better pay and progression in the workplace. In particular, the report inferred that employers need to increase opportunities for flexible work for this age group, given that these women often have substantial caring responsibilities for their children, spouses, grandchildren and elderly parents. The report also explored women’s concerns in several areas, including:

  • Recruitment and promotion processes
  • Skill-gaps compared to younger workers
  • Menopause

The research found that while many women are concerned about age discrimination, employers often fail to consider age as an important aspect of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The report recommended that employers should increase their monitoring of pay, progression and training by age. It also suggested that employers would benefit from increased support and guidance in addressing age discrimination in the workplace.

Katharine Stockland, Senior Social Researcher at NIESR, commented: “In order to address these challenges around pay and progression experienced by this group of women, employers must reflect on their workplace practices and consider to what extent their training, support and promotion opportunities reflect the needs of this group of women. Especially in the context of labour shortages that have been driven partly by older workers dropping out of the labour market, employers should act now”.

Mary Alexander and Patricia Findlay, Co-Chairs at Fair Work Convention also made comment: “We know the challenges faced by women at work do not simply start when a woman turns 50. The impacts of workplace policies and practices that systematically disadvantage women build cumulatively over an individual’s career. What this research demonstrates is that the intersection of age and gender is uniquely shaping women’s experiences of work in ways that are leaving older women significantly worse off both in career progression and in pay.”

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Long journey ahead to embed diversity into the complete employment journey  

According to a recent study, one in three UK workers has felt marginalised or excluded at work conducted.

The survey for the forthcoming book ‘Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work’ indicates that there is still a journey ahead for creating diversity in every area of the business – from recruitment to promotions.

While many workplaces in the UK are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation, others are not, and any diversity becomes scarcer in upper management and senior leadership.

Statistics show that:

  • White groups are the most likely to be employed at 79.3%,
  • Men have a higher employment rate in every ethnic group.
  • 41% of LGBTQIA+ job seekers would not apply for a job with a company that lacks diversity
  • The employment rate for disabled people sits at 52.7%.
  • Almost one in five FTSE 100 companies don’t have ethnic minority members.
  • Only two FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO.

Even though the UK has taken positive steps to create equality and diversity, there is much work to be done when looking at the overall picture.

Gerald Doran, Head of Recruitment and HRSS at Kura, has shared his tips for embedding diversity into the hiring process.

Create an equality and diversity policy

Diversity to needs to be enshrined in policy to be taken seriously. Laying out the company’s commitment to equality and diversity and how it will achieve them will ensure that it is enacted across all areas of the organisation.

A comprehensive policy should include

  • The purpose of the policy and the commitment to diversity in the workplace.
  • How diversity in the workplace will be increased
  • How discriminatory behaviour will be eliminated.
  • Details of the measures in place to ensure diversity within the business
  • The behaviours expected of all employees
  • A grievances procedure.

Consider a blind hiring process and an interview panel

Seventy-nine percent of HR employees have admitted that unconscious bias exists in recruitment in the UK. British job applicants with black or ethnic minority backgrounds must submit 60% more CVs to receive call-backs from employers,  even if their skill set matches white jobseekers.

A blind hiring process may eliminate this. Candidates can submit their CV and cover letter in a manner that does not provide any demographic information such as gender, heritage, age, and location.

At the interview stage, these personal identifiers may be revealed. In addition, if the interview panel comprises employees from diverse backgrounds and various levels of seniority, bias can also be removed from the interview process and final decision.

Another option is to use sample tasks to help the recruitment panel look at the candidate’s skills rather than the demographics.

Recognise the benefits of diversity in your workplace

To best understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, look into the benefits that it already offers. For example, women in leadership may be more empathetic. Leaders from different ethnic backgrounds can provide new perspectives for consideration.

Shakti Naidoo, HR Business Partner at Kura South Africa, commented: “At Kura South Africa, we have inductions and monthly sessions where we directly address conscious and unconscious bias.

As well as sessions on addressing conscious and unconscious bias, we created ‘Kura-Queens’, a space for women in the business to meet and discuss any issues around gender inequality in the workplace. Kura-Queens has led to “a team of strong women who support, motivate, and raise each other.”

We have a very equal gender split across all levels of seniority in our business. This gives us a unique, balanced workplace that values differing viewpoints and allows everyone to offer insight based on their personal experiences.

As well as creating equal opportunities for promotions within your organisation, highlighting the achievements of senior leaders from diverse backgrounds is important. They will be role models for other employees as well as prospective employees. We interviewed a number of our women in leadership for International Women’s Day and shared their inspiring words on LinkedIn in order to inspire others.

The UK has made positive steps when it comes to equality and diversity in the workplace but there is still a long way to go. Not only are marginalised groups still underrepresented in the workforce, but they also report feeling isolated and discriminated against. We have faced this challenge head-on at Kura and have a number of initiatives, from our comprehensive equality and diversity policy to Kura-Queens and beyond. Having a truly diverse workplace and recruitment process takes time to enact, but these are great places to start.”

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12% of employees believe HR doesn’t champion DE&I

New research from Cezanne HR has revealed that a staggering number of employees don’t trust their HR departments with 58% of respondents agreeing that their HR team champions DE&I, which evidenced strong HR leadership in this area. The same 58% also indicated better performance for HR when asked if they trusted their HR team more or less than before COVID-19. It was perceived that there is less favouritism by HR towards senior or junior staff in the business.

The industry is seeing the benefits that conscious DE&I brings to businesses when it comes to talent attraction and retention, but it seems most HR professionals and organisation leaders may not realise its ripple effects with almost a third of respondents (30%) didn’t know if their HR team champions DE&I, and 12% said their HR team didn’t.

For Cezanne HR’s new report, The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect, 1,000 people across the UK and Ireland were asked about different factors that might influence HR’s relationships with the workforce.

For the last 18 months HR departments have grappled with how COVID-19 has affected the workforce and there’s been a definite increased focus on DE&I due to world events. The survey revealed that those HR professionals who are motivated and invested in DE&I showed a higher percentage of people who trusted them more before the pandemic (40% versus 32% for all respondents) than they do following the pandemic.

Shandel McAuliffe, Head of Content for Cezanne HR commented: “At a time when many employees are re-evaluating their career options, the relationship HR has with the wider workforce is critical. Trust is key to that. Employees that trust HR to help them grow with their current employer and create an environment that is fair and inclusive, are going to think twice before jumping ship.”

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Employers will be held liable if they fail to take all reasonable steps to prevent employees from experiencing sexual harassment at work, under new proposals announced by the Government Equalities Office (GEO).

In its response to the 2019 sexual harassment in the workplace consultation, the government committed to four key actions to strengthen protection against sexual harassment in workplaces.

These included introducing a duty on employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment, as well as introducing a requirement to “create explicit protections from harassment by third parties”.

It also said it would support the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce a statutory code of practice, and that it was considering extending the time limit for bringing Equality Act-based cases to Employment Tribunals to six months, from the current three months.

In a Ministerial Foreword, Equalities Minister Liz Truss said: “The steps we plan to take as a result of this consultation will help to shift the dial, prompting employers to take steps which will make a tangible and positive difference. We want to provide the right legal framework, which supports employees and employers alike.

“We will be providing further protections to employees who are the victims of sexual harassment, whilst also furnishing employers with the motivation and support to put in place practices and policies which respond to the needs of their organisation. We now have a real opportunity to transform the workplace and guarantee everyone an environment in which they can thrive and feel safe.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which urged the government to bring the changes into law quickly.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No one should face sexual harassment at work, but the shocking reality is that most women have. Employers will now have a legal responsibility to protect their staff from sexual harassment.

“And employers must now protect their workers from all forms of harassment by customers and clients as well as from colleagues. This will help stamp out sexual harassment of women workers, and racist and homophobic abuse too. And it will make all public-facing workplaces safer – from shops to surgeries, salons to showrooms.

“If this is to be a genuine turning point, the government must change the law swiftly, put more resources into enforcing the new duties, and make sure victims have access to justice.

“Ministers have taken an important first step – but they must keep up the momentum. Sexual harassment at work is rife and needs tackling now.”

Photo curtosy of Canva.com

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