New research shows that only a small proportion of workers believe that companies are doing enough to support diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
A new study by Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, shows that just over a quarter (28 per cent) of UK staff feel as though businesses are adequately supporting diversity and inclusion at work.
Worryingly, this number falls to just one in 10 (11 per cent) for young adults aged under 25, showing that firms have more work to do in this area.
One of the main concerns for staff included the support currently on offer for employees with disabilities. Around two-fifths of respondents (40 per cent) felt that decision-makers should improve the inclusion, equity and diversity programmes for people within this group.
A similar number of people believed that businesses needed to offer more help to those from low income families (39 per cent) and staff from socially-deprived areas (31 per cent).
Specifically, over a third of those over the age of 55 – who have been shown to be vulnerable to age discrimination in the workplace – felt ageism was a key issue that needs to be tackled.
The mass closures of schools and nurseries impacted thousands of families throughout the pandemic with working parents struggling to juggle work and family duties.
As such, over a quarter of people (28 per cent) felt diversity, equity and inclusion policies should also cater to young families whilst a similar number (27 per cent) singled out the current lack of support for single parents.
Other key issues which staff felt needed to be addressed within D&I policies included gender discrimination, support for LGBTQ+ employees and improving equity and inclusion for people of different races and ethnicities.
The industries which were identified as needing the most improvement in terms of DEI included sports (24 per cent), the arts (24 per cent) and retail (22 per cent).
Amy Lynch, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Thoughtworks UK, stated:
For many businesses, the future of work has been centred on location – the relative merits of home, office or new hybrid models. However, it’s clear that it is more about how people work – and here the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion become pivotal considerations.
Our study suggests British workers believe there is still a long way to go for most businesses – and the scale of groups and issues that need to be better understood is significant.
Business leaders need to embrace a strategic response to this, to adopt processes that allow them to embed DEI issues in their culture and daily decision-making.
*Thoughtworks commissioned Maru Blue to survey 2,009 adults on July 15, 2021. The survey was conducted online.