27 June 2018

Achieving diversity and equality within the workplace has been a hot topic during 2018.

The requirement for all large employers to publish their gender pay gap in April has shone a spotlight on the challenges that still exist for women in the UK.

Following its sponsorship of the Gatwick Diamond Skills Summit in March, which focused on Equality and Diversity, the latest Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s Business Barometer survey has sought to discover what the region’s employers are doing to promote equality and diversity in the workplace. 

The survey of employers (both large and small) found that a relatively high proportion (80%) have policies to ensure diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace.  However, only 42% of the survey respondents’ workplaces monitor their employment practices on factors such as gender, race and disability.  Monitoring tends to be more likely in public sector organisations and larger organisations (250+ employees).

It was also found that fewer than half (40%) of respondents’ workplaces have ‘champions’ for equality and diversity and less than a third (30%) of workplaces provide programmes to encourage or enable women to apply for and take on senior roles. 

Rosemary French OBE, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative says: “Having champions and visible female role models in senior positions really makes a difference in changing organisational culture and practices around gender diversity. Building a visible pipeline of female talent is the only way to consolidate and build on the improvements we have seen in the last few years.”

For many women (and men), the opportunity to work flexibly can be extremely important.  The Business Barometer survey findings show that 90% of respondents’ workplaces in the Gatwick Diamond offer flexible working (e.g. flexibility in terms of where, when and the hours they work).  

Rosemary comments: “While this is a very positive finding, what we are hearing is that many recruitment adverts fail to mention the availability of flexible working options and this will inevitably deter many individuals, particularly women returning to the workplace with caring responsibilities, from applying for those jobs. 

“Employers need to do more to encourage and support women to get back into work and fulfil their true potential.  Indeed, it is an economic necessity that they do as the area continues to be challenged by a shortage of skills, particularly in our growth sectors such as business and professional services and medical technology.  Companies will need to increase their employee diversity to unlock the potential of the whole UK workforce in order to fill skills gaps and to help them compete overseas.”


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