Posted on 23rd June 2022

sick at work

Analysis by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has revealed that, despite the appearance of an "all-inclusive" workplace culture, many employees in the UK are based in organisations that have systemic challenges when it comes to workplace inclusion.

- 52% of employees report being overlooked for workplace opportunities because of their identity.
- Diverse workers are significantly under-represented at management and senior leadership levels.
- More than two in five UK employees (41%) have witnessed colleagues being negatively affected because of their background at work.
- There is a persistent level of exclusion that is holding back the British economy and public services, says the chartered professional body for management and leadership as part of its 75th anniversary investigation.

The research indicated that employees saw weaker representation of those from different backgrounds to them in management (69% saw such representation) and senior leadership (67%). The research suggests complacency within UK organisations that is a barrier to future economic performance and organisational success, given wider changes to the UK work-force. Previous CMI research has shown that three times more male than female managers thought that gender equality had gone far enough or too far.

The survey, which polled UK employees to better understand Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in workplaces, found that despite many organisations and staff championing EDI initiatives, the workplace remains exclusionary. Specifically on the issue of discrimination, the CMI poll revealed that:

- Over half (51%) of UK employees have either witnessed or experienced discrimination in the workplace.
- More than two in five employees (41%) have themselves been discriminated against at work due to their identity.
- Employees were more likely to report a sense of inclusion in their workplace where colleagues were similar to themselves.

This data follows CMI's findings on the scale of underrepresentation at senior levels. To achieve balance in the UK working population by gender, ethnicity and disability, further analysis suggests the UK needs: 560k additional women
290k additional managers with registered disabilities
100k additional individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds
460k additional individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, commented: "It's really quite simple: this data is a wake up call not just for fairness but on the future success of UK business and public services. Let's be frank: progress is evident but painfully slow. We can't afford to wait two generations to harness all of our available talent, given the economic, societal and environmental challenges we face.

We know that inclusive organisations are more likely to be successful: more innovative, higher performing, responsive to the needs of their customers and communities, and better able to face an uncertain future by harnessing greater opportunities.

This research reveals that although some progress has been made, employers and managers must strive to go much further than paying lip service to EDI, and commit to addressing the inequalities that exist. Passive compliance is not enough. Active leadership is required to enable UK organisations to face the future."

The latest research also revealed that despite most UK employees (86%) indicating they have access to at least one workplace opportunity, more than half of employees (52%) said they had at some point in their career been overlooked for a workplace opportunity because of their identity.

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