Nearly half of UK employers have no official inclusion and diversity strategy - prompting call to take action or be left behind

Firms are being encouraged to officially implement an inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy or action plan after new data has found that just under half of UK employers are yet to take such action.

HR body the CIPD’s Inclusion at Work 2022 report, in partnership with recruiter Reed, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK senior decision-makers, found that 36 per cent of organisations aren’t planning to focus on any specific I&D areas over the next five years, while a quarter said such activities are entirely or mostly reactive, for example, in response to societal events like the Black Lives Matter protests or mandatory reporting requirements.

However, 48 per cent reported having either a stand-alone strategy or action plan on I&D or integrating it into their wider people strategy, and the most common areas that employers have focused on in the past five years are mental health (29 per cent), race/ethnicity (23 per cent) and gender (21 per cent).

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Jill Miller, senior diversity and inclusion policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “While there’s been greater attention and gradual progress on inclusion and diversity in recent years, there’s clearly still a long way to go to create truly inclusive and fair workplaces for all. We urge employers to be proactive and have a clear strategy or action plan in place, tailored to the organisation and workforce needs. There are simple actions that employers can take to improve inclusion, regardless of organisation size or budget. For instance, a focus on inclusive recruitment, people management, development and leadership behaviour can really help create fairer workplaces with equality of opportunity.”

Business leaders need to embrace inclusion and diversity, and measure it more, says the CIPD (stock image). Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Ian Nicholas, global MD at Reed, also commented: “In the current jobs market, with many organisations crying out for talent, they can’t afford not to be as inclusive as possible and champion talent from all backgrounds. Until organisations start building inclusion and diversity into strategies and truly incorporating inclusive cultures, we won’t see the level of progress that’s needed. Without change you could see your business lagging behind, risking damaging your reputation among new and existing employees and customers.”

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