Over time, businesses have proven that having a diverse workforce often leads to more success. However, there are still companies in the UK that haven’t left in a traditional mindset and are failing to achieve an inclusive and diverse workforce. Research conducted by People Management had found that 1.5% of senior management roles in businesses are held by Black employees. In fact, there has been little change, with there being only 1.5 per cent of Black people in senior roles in 2014.
Companies that create a comfortable and inclusive workforce, tend to attract top talent. After all, everyone wants to work where they’re valued and will be treated with respect – companies must keep the best workers by promoting a positive work culture. Diverse policies will not only help attract a talented workforce, but they will help combat offensive and closeminded decision-making, deliver unique perspectives from people from all walks of life, and help innovate the business to become better and more competitive.
In order for employees to develop within a business, they must feel comfortable. This can be supported by the business with policies and decisions that don’t alienate minorities. Sadly, not all companies do this – for example, Jaguar came under fire following an employment tribunal after a genderfluid employee was harassed at work and not given support.
To introduce a minimum standard of diversity and inclusivity, the Equality Act 2010 was created. However, a genuine diversity policy goes beyond legal compliance and actually changes the work lives of minorities while encouraging their wellbeing. Research by McKinsey found that those with more diversity perform better financially. The least diverse companies, both from a gender and ethnicity point of view, are 29 per cent more likely to underperform financially.
With this in mind, we take a look at two industries that are failing the inclusivity, which are accounting and tech and look at how they can improve.
Disappointing statistics being accountable
Looking at FTSE 100 firms, the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) directors had decreased from nearly nine per cent in 2018 to 7.4 per cent in 2019. 47 FTSE 100 companies still have no ethnic minority people at board and executive director level.
Within the accounting industry, “the Big Four” is the title being handed to the largest companies. They are crucial in innovating how we work and invest. Last year, the Telegraph reported shocking and disappointing diversity statistics, with only 11 Black partners of around 3,000 in total.
This correlates to less than 0.4 per cent of the total number of partners, compared to 3.3 per cent of the total UK population.
While it appears that leading roles in the accounting industry are dominated by white men, there is only so far that these companies can go due to the lack of diversity and different ways of thinking.
Within tech, the state of minorities is disappointing. Although there is a combined effort across industries to achieve proportional representation and equal treatment of minorities in the workplace, BAME workers are still underrepresented, underpaid, and often discriminated against. The tech industry relies on innovation and creativity, but how can it with a workforce dominated by white men?
Hired had reported that 66 per cent of tech workers in the UK identify as being white, whereas three per cent are black, 17 per cent are Asian and two per cent are Hispanic.
Beginning with the board
Sadly, in today’s business landscape, there’s a culture of promotion that exists that excludes qualified minorities from promotion. For example, these candidates might not be part of the social network that those in senior roles and directorships are part of when considering candidates. Often, executives play it safe by hiring similar candidates to those they already have, having the same white males hired over and over again. Directors and executives should improve their recruitment efforts and expanded the pool of diverse candidates they are looking into.
It’s essential that racism in the workplace must be combatted to create a safe and inclusive environment. Racism isn’t always overt with blatant remarks and aggression. It can be covert and displayed through microaggressions and prejudice. This can be just as damaging for minorities in the workplace, who may feel uncomfortable raising the issue to their colleagues and peers. Addressing the way people think can be done through inclusivity and diversity training at work so colleagues know what isn’t acceptable and how their behaviours and words can be offensive. People need to be called out on their biases and learn to become better. In the 21st century, there is no excuse for racism and microaggressions.
Across all industries, its important for them to learn to be inclusive, not just to generate a bigger revenue but to encourage others to follow suit in helping to create a new normal in the world of work. Employing workers from a diverse background and demographic will add new perspectives – an invaluable resource for companies. Sectors should take a look at what the top 50 inclusive companies are doing to adopt a culture of inclusivity and diversity.