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Bringing benefits such as increased creativity, positive brand image, and a stronger connection with international markets, you would think diversity would be a priority to business owners. However, recent research has revealed that this isn’t the case for all companies. Groups from every corner of society are underrepresented, including gender, ethnicity, and religion.

The research took a 100-employee snapshot of the UK’s workforce. Then, the research compared various group figures to highlight any misrepresentations or lack of diversity. This is important information as it provides useful stats for companies to compare their own diversity assessments too.

Below are the comparisons between the UK’s population and workforce across gender, ethnicity, and religion, alongside advice for businesses looking to improve their diversity.

Where are the imbalances?

When looking at the UK population and workforce as 100 people, each person counts for 269,669 UK citizens.

Gender

 

Although a difference of four might not sound like much when you compare the two across gender, scaled up it shows an underrepresentation of over one million women in the workforce. This is a substantial imbalance and highlights how there are still currently more men working in UK industries.

Ethnicity

Ethnicity doesn’t highlight quite the same imbalance as gender, but people from Asian and mixed-race ethnic backgrounds are under-represented by roughly 800,000 people across the UK workforce.

Religion

Moving onto faith, those who do not identify with a religion are overrepresented in the UK workforce. Those from Christian, Muslim, and Hindu faith are underrepresented by four people.

How to improve representation in the workplace?

It’s beneficial for every business to create a balanced working environment. It reflects positively on your brand and further improves business processes by bringing new perspectives a problem. There are things you can do as a business owner to reduce diversity gaps.

Diversity Assessment

If you’re unsure where your organization currently stands when it comes to diversity, carrying out an internal assessment could provide you with clearer insight. This will include a short analysis of your staff’s make up based on the demographics mentioned in this study.

Compare your company with the findings in the study to give you a clear picture of how your business compares to the rest of the UK workforce. If there are shortfalls, it will give you the base to address such issues.

Provide the right environment for diversity

Once you recognize a problem, consider if you have the means to solve it. To craft the right environment for a balanced workforce, you need to assess your business from the view of underrepresented groups. Religion is a good example of this; do you provide flexibility for them to accommodate both their religion and their job? Providing space to pray is a good place to start. If all your company socials involve alcohol, consider members of your team who don’t drink.

Creating a positive atmosphere in the office for underrepresented groups is also important. Make sure there are no undercurrents of implicit bias, or it could put off potential employees.  An anonymous feedback system could be the solution for this, allowing employees to report issues. A team ethos that promotes inclusivity is key.

Proactive recruitment

Once your business is capable of accommodating diversity, you can start to think about your recruitment process. There are steps you can take in every stage of recruitment. Firstly, cater your job advertisement to all groups. Avoid gendered language as this can stop women from applying.

Where you choose to advertise your job is also important. Women focus on digital job sites such as Indeed and Monster, while men choose to use LinkedIn listings. Make sure you advertise your jobs across different sites so it’s seen by a broader audience, increasing the diversity of your applicants.

Following these steps will help you create a balanced working environment and a positive atmosphere for your staff. Reputation and positive brand image will quickly grow, and you will be better equipped to cater to an increasingly diverse market.

About the author: Sam Cropper is a content creator for office supplier Viking Direct, specializing in HR and business and writing articles that offer expert advice for companies within this area.

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