Diversity action in the UK faces regional divide following Black Lives Matter

There's a national divide when it comes to the importance of diversity in the workplace in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that took place in 2020.

According to new research, two-thirds (67%) of London professionals feel that diversity and inclusion has become a higher priority for their company since Black Lives Matter (BLM) came into the spotlight last year.

However, non-profit networking group People Like Us found that workers outside of London are over three times more likely to say that their workplace had done nothing in response to the BLM movement than those within the capital.

Twenty-eight per cent of workers who work outside London in the UK said that diversity and inclusion was still not a high priority for their company.

Darain Faraz, co-founder of People Like Us, said the findings show the common narrative of London vs. the rest of the UK.

He said: “The findings clearly point towards the need for bespoke solutions for specific audiences.

“Whilst nationally there is a net-positive attitude to D&I since BLM, the moment you dig a bit deeper the story becomes markedly different.”

Over a third (35%) of the workforce agreed that the momentum of diversity had ‘fizzled out’ in the workplace since it was in the public eye in the summer of 2020.

That number increased to 57% when BAME workers were asked the same question.

Darain Faraz, co-founder of People Like Us and director of brand marketing, EMEA & LATAM at LinkedIn told HR magazine that to keep D&I on the agenda nationwide people leaders is to expand their talent pools.

He said: “One way to source and reach diverse talent is by partnering with organisations that have an existing engaged community or following."

Inclusive language in job adverts is also key, he argued.

“Take a skills-first approach when it comes to hiring. Hiring candidates based on their skills and potential over just experience and formal qualifications can help encourage more people to apply.”

The most common actions taken by businesses to help D&I included investing in training sessions such as unconscious bias and white privilege workshops (22%) and pledging to review their D&I initiatives (20%).

Further reading:

Are you doing diversity training right?

Social activism could turn the workplace into a ‘wokeplace’

Demand for D&I roles four times higher than those in HR

Pushing for progress: the workplace's role in political and social movements