Tag: Race

How can businesses improve inclusivity?

A recent audit of the FTSE100 found that neurodiversity and disability are the areas of diversity most likely to be ignored when it comes to recruitment and employee support. The audit, conducted by Agility in Mind, looked at initiatives announced by FTSE100 companies over the last five years concerning age, disability, gender, mental health, neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, and race.

The audit found that despite 99% of FTSE100 companies having an inclusive mission statement, only 37% have a substantial disability initiative, and only 4% offer a neurodiversity initiative.

In partnership with research house, Censuswide, Agility in Mind then surveyed 250 UK business leaders to explore the disparity between support for diverse groups. The survey found that only 16% of business leaders describe their neurodiversity initiatives as ‘highly effective’, compared to 26% in both race and gender.

Although 15% –  20% of the global population is thought to be neurodivergent, with conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or Tourette syndrome, only 21.7% of autistic people are currently working – making them the least likely to be employed of any disabled group.

Agility in Mind’s ‘Inclusive Growth’ playbook offers a six-step framework for managers struggling to implement this type of organisational change:

  • Remember, your organisation is unique, so simply copying other organisations may not achieve the results you want to see
  • Start with inclusivity in mind by bringing diverse views into the team managing change
  • Set out the characteristics of the organisation you want and share a clear vision for the future
  • Take small steps that are aligned with your vision to achieve real change
  • Iterate, ensuring you learn at each step, and share the lessons across the organisation
  • Make change visible to all, so everyone knows the progress you’re making.

Michelle Meakin, Business Services Director at Agility in Mind, commented:  “We’ve seen progress over the last few years with organisations of all sizes embracing change management processes to become more diverse. Core to this shift is in making sure that companies can build a culture of inclusion, making work accessible to everyone, which is able to scale as they grow.”

“However, where change is harder to track- such as with invisible disabilities or neurodiversity – businesses are still lagging. As the war for talent continues, organisations that are able to tackle this widespread issue are likely to see the most diverse – and productive – teams and reap the clear benefits of building an inclusive business. This is where the agile approach to change management comes to the fore; incremental change, a strong vision of inclusion and how to get there, and an openness to adapting the route are key ingredients to meaningful and lasting progress.”

Toby Mildon, Diversity and Inclusion Architect, said: “The disparity between commitment to nuances of diversity has been an ongoing issue. That only 4% of the FTSE100 offer initiatives to support neurodiverse employees, in comparison to the 47% that offer an LGBTQ+ empowerment initiative or are accredited by a national association for LGBTQ+ rights, is telling of how much work there is still to be done.”

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Black professionals are twice as likely to be turned down when asking for a pay rise than their white counterparts, according to a new study.

The findings were included in an in-depth white paper published by Robert Walters, which surveyed more than 7,500 workers year-on-year between 2019 and 2021.

The poll found that 42% of black professionals were refused a pay increase after negotiation, compared with 21% of white professionals. For black women, the situation was even worse – 63% were turned down when asking for more pay.

Further, even when they were successful in negotiating a pay rise, black professionals were less likely to get 75-100% of what they asked for, achieving this just 21% of the time, against 35% for white employees.

Black workers were also more likely to be deterred from even asking for more money, with 37% saying they hadn’t even tried, against 23% for their white peers.

Habiba Khatoon, Director at Robert Walters, said: “This report is one of the most significant pieces of research into diversity and inclusion in the workplace in the past two years, and specifically highlights the failures that come from a lack of effective inclusion – where company structure, culture, and/or policies negatively impact underrepresented groups.

“Whilst D&I has rightly been a prime concern for leadership teams, who now understand how critical an active D&I policy is for their organisation’s success, it remains the case that almost no protected characteristic – be it gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability or age – can be said to be properly represented in the workplace.”

The recruitment firm noted that the temporary hold on the government’s decision on whether or not to enforce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting was making it difficult to assess the exact state of play.

While ONS figures showed that in 2019 the gender pay gap between all minorities and white British workers had shrunk to just 2.3%, it noted that, “this simple comparison between white and ethnic minority groups does, however, mask a wide variety of experiences among different ethnic minorities”.

In fact, the Robert Walters report found that the top five ethnic groups most dissatisfied with their pay were all minorities.

Needs not being met

Pay wasn’t the only issue noted, however. Some 41% of black professionals also felt there were a lack of opportunities available to them, with 34% stating that no relevant training courses were on offer.

Three times the number of black, and two times the number of Asian professionals stated that lack of representation was holding them back, compared with their white peers. One-third of black professionals said their career expectations were not being met by their employer.

Meera Raikundalia, Co-Founder of the Black Young Professionals (BYP) Network, which contributed to the Robert Walters report, said: “The UK has an abundance of black and ethnic minority talent, however, it appears that they remain hugely under-represented in the workplace. When asked to name business leaders from an ethnic minority background, just 34% of respondents could recall even one role model, in comparison to 75% of white respondents.

“It is clear that you can’t become what you can’t see, and it is therefore key for organisations to consciously attract and showcase minority talent at the top of their organisation to show there is a clear path to success for minority candidates.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Two-thirds of those in senior positions in the UK are nervous about using the wrong language when discussing race in the workplace, a survey has found.

The poll of 500 non-HR decision makers carried out by Censuswide for D&I network INvolve found that 65% of respondents were concerned about using the wrong or inappropriate language when discussing race at work.

More specifically, 56% were uncomfortable using the terms ‘Black’, ‘Asian’, ‘BAME’, and ‘Ethnic minority’ in the workplace, while 36% did not think BAME was an appropriate term to use in the workplace.

Some 44% reported that they changed their natural language choice when talking to someone of a different race.

Of those surveyed, three-quarters of whom were white, 72% stated they had witnessed at least one instance of racism in the workplace over the last three years.

Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder and CEO of INvolve, said: “The ability to discuss issues surrounding race in the workplace is crucial and if white and other employees don’t have the confidence to have these discussions, we cannot create the meaningful long-term change we need.

“As shown by the lack of ethnic minority representation in senior leadership, systemic racism is still pervasive in British business and until we are all able to have difficult conversations by eliminating the fear surrounding them, we cannot successfully address racial equality in the workplace.”

This release of the research coincided with the publication of INvolve’s annual EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Models lists, which highlight business leaders who are breaking down barriers for ethnic minorities at work.

Diageo’s Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes topped this year’s list of top executives, largely for his work driving inclusion and diversity at the multinational drinks giant.

Menezes said: “It takes time to see shifts in representation at all levels in the organisation. It requires the setting of targets, changes in policy, leading the change from the top and having role models within the business.”

Maryse Gordon, Business Development Manager of Data and Analytics at the London Stock Exchange Group, was number one in EMpower’s 100 future leaders list, while Carolyn McCall, CEO at ITV, came top of the 50 advocates list.

Sandhu said of the lists: “Celebrating ethnic minority talent is a great way to champion individuals in business who are paving the way forward for inclusion. I am thrilled to be able to showcase the achievements of another fantastic group of role models in business who are reaching the top of their fields while ensuring that they send the elevator back down for others.”

The full lists can be found here: https://empower.involverolemodels.org/

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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