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Hot topic part two: Do diverse hires lead to more inclusive policies?

Succeeding Boris Johnson, prime minister Liz Truss has been hailed for appointing one of the most diverse cabinets in UK history.

It includes Kwasi Kwarteng of Ghanaian heritage as chancellor of the exchequer; James Cleverly, whose mother is from Sierra Leone, as foreign secretary and home secretary Suella Braverman, who is of Indian heritage.

But will diverse hires automatically lead to more inclusive policy? Is the same true in business?


Alison Wilde, co-founder, Birdsoup

The short answer here is no. It’s much more complicated than ticking diversity hiring box quotas and then watching the inclusivity flow.

Look closely at Truss’s new cabinet and you will quickly see that 70% are privately educated, and they overwhelmingly represent seats in the south of England, and just 35% are women.

It’s important to recognise intersectionality as it immediately tips the scales of true inclusivity and lived experience.

If you want to be inclusive, it starts with your recruitment and hiring; you need to ensure that people aren’t being othered in your organisation. You can create policies that on the surface sound inclusive, but they will fall flat in the application if a culture of inclusivity doesn’t really exist.

Where Truss is concerned, the question is who here represents the electorate?

If the people who are passing policies aren’t in touch with the day-to-day realities, then the hires who bring them to the table will still have the cards stacked against them. Privilege will outweigh diversity if the culture doesn’t breed real inclusion.

More on this topic:

Rethinking workplace diversity

Diversity and inclusion: stretching both ends of the talent pipeline

D&I clinic: What do I do about employees who deny their own privilege?


David Blackburn, chief people officer, Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Recruiting a diverse workforce does not automatically ensure that you become an inclusive workplace. Diverse recruitment is just one part of the equation. Inclusion requires an understanding of equity: not just treating everyone the same but recognising that not everyone is starting from the same place.

At the Financial Services Compensation Scheme we’re committed to building an inclusive workplace. Our starting point is recruiting and supporting colleagues from the widest and most diverse pool of talent.

Today a third of employees come from black, Asian, minority ethnic backgrounds. Two thirds of our board are female and our executive team is truly diverse: 12.5% LGBT+, 25% black, Asian, minority ethnic and 75% female.

Having a predominantly female executive team means that we’ve championed gender diversity, and raised awareness, understanding and support for all colleagues around the menopause and pregnancy loss because this has touched the team personally. But we celebrate the stories of all our people so that we can learn from their experiences.



This piece appears in the September/October 2022 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.

Click here for part one.