One thing which still amazes, and saddens, in equal proportions is how slowly equality and diversity are progressing. It would be nice to think that it would progress because it is the right (not to mention legally required) thing to do.  One would also expect that by now, businesses would have woken up to the fact that fighting discrimination also carries a huge financial benefit.

The Overwhelming Benefits of Equality and Diversity

You do not have to look far to find strong evidence that equality and diversity carry substantial economic benefits for organisations.

  • The McGregor­Smith Review found that an increase in BME workplace progression to expected levels could give the UK economy a £24bn boost
  • According to the Lee Hecht Harrison Penna survey, 74% of employees said they would consider leaving a company if it appeared to lack diversity among its workforce

It’s saddening to see that despite the benefits of equality and diversity, discriminations is still prevalent today’s workplaces. Let’s take a quick look at some of the facts that, sadly, prove the persistence of discrimination:

Age Discrimination

The CIPD recently reported that half of older employees want to work past 65.  Yet according to a survey by Lee Hecht Harrison Penna, 39% of staff believe ageism to be the most common form of discrimination in their organisation (above gender at 26% and employment status – part time/full time/ flexible status – at 22%).

Gender Discrimination

According to Deloitte analysis, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap in the UK will not close until 2069 based on current salary progression (­37460778 3/7).
Neither is this a change which occurs over time: it’s there straight out of the blocks in starting employment. Deloitte found that women average 8% less in graduate starting salaries than their male counterparts across all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Race Discrimination

The McGregor­Smith review into career opportunities for black and ethnic minority groups found that BAME groups were being held back in their careers because of their skin colour. In particular, employment rates were found to be 12 per cent lower than their white peers, while just 6 percent of those with BAME backgrounds hold executive­ level positions.
We all play a part in changing these statistics. So, our question for you today is – do you have the following:
(i) a clear commitment to equality and diversity?
(ii) clear policies and systems in place to ensure equality and diversity?
(iii) ways to spot if you aren’t getting it right?
If you’ve found this thought-provoking, you may also want to take a look at these:
Employee Too Old or Employer Too Blinkered?
How to #BeBoldForChange for Women in the Workplace

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