DEI Survey

New research has found that UK businesses need to do more to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

According to a survey by global technology consultancy, Thoughtworks, only 28% of adults think UK businesses do enough to support DEI, with this figure falling to just 11% among workers aged under 25.

At a time when businesses are adapting to a mix of office, hybrid and home working, the national survey asked a sample of 2000 adults which groups needed to be better supported and in which sectors the most and least progress towards DEI had been made.

The findings suggested that those with disabilities required the most additional support, with two in five (40%) respondents saying more DEI programmes were needed for this group.

Social mobility was also seen as a key area for improvement for 39% of respondents, while age discrimination was highlighted by 30% of those surveyed.

Following the significant rise of nursery closures during lockdown – and its impact on home working for those people with young children – 28% of respondents wanted to see businesses do more to improve DEI policies towards young families.

Reviewing the research findings by specific industries, sport (24%), the arts (24%) and retail (22%) were the sectors where people believed organisations had made the most progress in advancing DEI for their employees.  

The tech sector ranked 8th and banking 11th while motoring and agricultural sectors came last.

Overall, 35% of respondents believed insufficient progress had been made in all the industry sectors listed.

Amy Lynch, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Thoughtworks UK, said: “For many businesses, the future of work has been centred on location - the relative merits of home, office or new hybrid models.

“However, it's clear that it is more about how people work - and here the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion become pivotal considerations.

“Our study suggests British workers believe there is still a long way to go for most businesses - and the scale of groups and issues that need to be better understood is significant.

“Business leaders need to embrace a strategic response to this, to adopt processes that allow them to embed DEI issues in their culture and daily decision-making.”

Key takeaways:

  • Sport, the arts and retail were highlighted as the sectors having made the most progress on DEI
  • Thoughtworks has established a DEI council that will work to put inclusion, equity and diversity at the heart of strategic business decision-making
  • If you’re looking to improve DEI in your workplace, head over to the UMi platform: https://www.weareumi.co.uk/webapp/running-a-business/building-a-great-business/
Richard Dawson
Article by Richard Dawson
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