Diversity is an important thing. The collaboration of ideas, backgrounds, and cultures can often be a catalyst for new approaches that pay dividends in many walks of life. This is particularly true when it comes to the workplace.
To assess how diverse the UK workplace currently is, office furniture suppliers Viking have undertaken a snapshot study resulting in a visualisation of the UK workforce proportionally represented as 100 people. This visualisation has been compared to the same for the UK as a whole on gender, ethnicity, religion, and health, based on census data from the Office of National Statistics. The comparison has highlighted where groups are under-represented when compared to the country at large.
When reduced to 100 people, women are under-represented in the workforce by four individuals. These four represent over 1 million real women living in the UK who are under-represented in the workplace.
Ethnicity comparisons, too, revealed areas of under-representation in the workforce. Those from both Asian and mixed-race backgrounds are currently under-represented.
All religions with enough followers to equate to one or more individuals in the workforce as 100 people (Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) are under-represented in the workplace. Those who do not follow a religion are over-represented by four people.
Some health conditions limit an individual’s ability to work. But even for those who continue in work despite their health problems, it appears that there is a lack of representation in the workplace. Those in bad or very bad health are under-represented in the workplace by five people
Addressing the Imbalance
When it comes to trying to improve representation in the workplace there are a number of things employers can do. To understand your current position, conduct a diversity assessment of your staff. This should reveal current shortfalls and strengths that can be compared to the workforce as 100 people and the UK as 100 people to see how it matches up nationally.
Once you’ve uncovered shortfalls, think about why these exist. Is diversity impacted by your local area, or could you be doing more to attract people from different backgrounds to job roles in your organisation?
Try to look at your workplace through the eyes of someone else. Is it welcoming and practical? Do you have a dedicated quiet space that can be used for prayer and reflection? Is it possible for someone with physical difficulties to navigate your office without having to make changes? Starting a new job can be scary enough without having to request changes when you start simply so that you can get about easily or follow your religion.
Working to create a welcoming environment that can be used by people from all walks of life should help you attract diverse candidates to roles in your organisation. In the long term, more businesses doing this will help to redress the problems of under-representation in the UK workforce.