Workplaces need to do more to embrace their diverse workforce, according to new figures that show Brits are still feeling discriminated against in the office. Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace by Badenoch and Clark has revealed that although businesses have grown significantly more diverse in the past 50 years, office culture still has some catching up to do if they want to keep their staff.
Nearly two thirds of disabled workers in the UK believe they have experienced discrimination because of their disabilities, with 65% of those with mental disabilities raising concerns that their company doesn’t offer appropriate support for them. 45% of physically disabled workers were also worried over the lack of support, with more than half admitting they try to hide a disability when applying to a new job.
More than one fifth of workers don’t think their firm supports diversity or inclusion at any level at all, and keeping quiet could be costing companies billions by not encouraging and developing talent based on gender, disabilities, sexuality or race.
“Every manager in the UK should be able to talk about difference with their teams in an inclusive way,” explained Pavita Cooper, founder of diversity and talent advisory firm More Difference. “We need to see far more leadership from senior business leaders on this issue.”
Starting the conversation doesn’t automatically lead to inclusivity, however. Nearly half of bosses don’t think that reporting on the gender pay gap and discrimination will invite change alone. 18% of workers would even go as far as to admit they don’t expect women’s average earnings to ever meet men’s, and one in 10 expect change to take longer than 25 years. The question has even been raised as to whether or not we should openly discuss pay with our colleagues, which proved divisive on our Twitter poll, revealing a polarising split as 53% still think we should keep quiet about our earnings.
“Both employers and employees have a joint responsibility in creating a culture of respect,” said Julian Roberts, CEO of EssentialSkillz, who believes clear policies on equality and diversity are the key to ending discrimination. “Enhancing awareness of the benefits of having a diverse workforce is fundamental.
“Training all staff is a vital step in achieving equality and diversity across the entire business to create an inclusive and collaborative work environment.”