A worrying 58 percent of UK professionals think leaders have a bias towards those who look, think or act like them; Over half (57 percent) of respondents say there have been occasions where their career progression has been limited due to their background Just 35 percent professionals trust their leaders to deliver change on diversity and inclusion. Contributor Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion – Hays.
Just 35 percent of UK professionals trust their organisation’s leaders to deliver change on the diversity and inclusion agenda, and over half believe their leaders have a bias towards those who look, think or act like them, according to new research by Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
The survey of over 9,000 UK professionals for the Hays UK Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018 found that only 34 percent of employees believe their organisation’s leaders are role models for diversity and inclusion, who challenge traditional viewpoints and established ways of working.
Over half (57 percent) of respondents say there have been occasions when their career progression has been limited due to their background, of whom 50 percent say it was due to age, 41 percent gender, 40 percent their ethnicity, 11 percent disability and 8 percent sexual orientation.
Only 41 percent of respondents say they work in a culture that encourages debate and diversity of thought, and just 43 percent think their voice is heard and respected.
The findings of the report suggest many leaders have yet to realise the connection between diversity and inclusion and their business goals. Just 36 percent of respondents believe their leaders fully understand the relationship between diversity and inclusion and profitability.
Progress in celebrating diversity
Positively, 63 percent of respondents say diversity and inclusion is being celebrated at an organisational level. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of survey respondents state that diversity and inclusion is promoted in their organisation’s staff communications, and over half (59 percent) say their organisation supports key diversity and inclusion events.
While 66 percent of survey respondents say their organisation captures diversity data at the recruitment stage only 43 percent say their organisation uses this data to determine the effectiveness of related policies, and only 38 percent believe it is used to inform career development programmes.
Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays said: “The fact that the majority of employees believe that some form of unconscious bias exists amongst their leaders, shows that despite the progress being made on diversity and inclusion by many organisations, leaders have some way to go to convince their employees that they truly understand and value the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We know that when diversity and inclusion policies, practices and behaviours are integral to the way an organisation operates, everyone stands to benefit, but our findings reveal a lack of trust by employees that their leaders will deliver change on the diversity and inclusion agenda.”