Despite greater calls for equality, senior business leader say their companies focus more on business development than diversity.

The Advanced Business Trends Report 2021/22 which talked to 1,000 senior managers in the UK, found less than half (40 percent) of respondents believed that improving D&I is a business priority over the next 12 months.

This highlights a disconnect between generations as other studies suggest younger employees would rather work for a company with strong Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives.

Employees are also known to stay longer with a company that has solid D&I initiatives, with leaders reporting higher productivity when inclusion is a priority.

Younger people more interested in D & I

61 percent of respondents aged 18-24 know if their company publishes a diversity pay gap report, over 45s were less likely to be aware of this.

This also suggests younger staff are more interested in initiatives of equality than their older counterparts.

Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced, says: “Diversity and inclusion can no longer be ignored, and we must act now to ensure that these issues are addressed.”

He added that diverse workplaces are better for business, warning that organisations that don’t prioritise D & I will “suffer irreparably”.

Mr Wilson also said companies could be hampering their post-COVID recovery by inadvertently limiting their talent pool.

 

Diversity brought to the forefront by Covid

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most organisations immediately moved to hybrid working. This was highlighted by the findings which showed that

The findings also found that people believe hybrid working during the pandemic has helped raise visibility of minority groups and also 27 percent feel it’s highlighted the need to cater to workers with disabilities.

CBI President Lord Bilimoria commented on the figures: “Let us be absolutely clear – more representative workplaces and boardrooms aren’t just the right thing to do, it is also about improving business performance. More and more businesses are taking this very seriously, as can be seen from increasing involvement in Change the Race Ratio, launched by the CBI in October 2020 to increase racial and ethnic participation in all organisations.

“Against the backdrop of labour shortages, it’s incumbent on all firms to step up investment in training to meet the UK’s £13 billion a year reskilling deficit.

“And accelerating efforts to draw on talent from across the whole of society through diversity & inclusion strategies to attract, retain and develop all under-represented groups in the labour market must become a top priority.”