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New analysis by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has revealed the scale of challenges of workplace inclusion facing UK businesses and the knock-on effect this has on business success and the wider economy.
A survey of over 2,000 UK employees (not in managerial roles) found that complacency within UK organisations over Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is a barrier to future economic performance and organisational success, given wider demographic changes to the UK workforce.
Despite many organisations and staff championing EDI initiatives, the CMI poll found over half of UK employees had experienced or witnessed discrimination in the workplace. 52% also reported that they had at some point in their career been overlooked for an opportunity because of their identity.
Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, commented:
“It’s really quite simple: this data is a wake up call not just for fairness but on the future success of UK business and public services. Let’s be frank: progress is evident but painfully slow. We can’t afford to wait two generations to harness all of our available talent, given the economic, societal and environmental challenges we face.
“We know that inclusive organisations are more likely to be successful: more innovative, higher performing, responsive to the needs of their customers and communities, and better able to face an uncertain future by harnessing greater opportunities.
“This research reveals that although some progress has been made, employers and managers must strive to go much further than paying lip service to EDI, and commit to addressing the inequalities that exist. Passive compliance is not enough. Active leadership is required to enable UK organisations to face the future.”
The findings overall indicated that there are clear opportunity divides between employees, and some minority groups may still be missing out and facing unwelcoming workplaces.
- Missing out on training opportunities as a result of being your ‘authentic self’ was reported by 35% from black backgrounds, 32% from mixed backgrounds, 30% of disabled employees and 29% of those from Asian backgrounds, compared to a typical UK employee (21%).
- Harassment and bullying in the workplace were more commonly experienced by those identifying as LGBTQ+ (38%), those from black backgrounds (35%) and disabled employees (33%), compared to a typical UK employee (22%).
- Experiencing hostile, derogatory or negative attitudes was also more often experienced by those identifying as LGBTQ+ (36%), those from black backgrounds (34%), disabled employees (34%) and those from Asian backgrounds (29%), than a typical UK employee (23%).
CMI has been carrying out research into employer attitudes on EDI in UK businesses as part of its 75th anniversary project with a full report due to be published at the end of June 2022.