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Majority of workers seeing diversity improvement at work

More than half (56%) of employees think their company is working harder to hire diverse talent, according to research from recruitment firm Hays.

The figure is an improvement on last year, when only 42% of employees felt their company was trying to diversify the workforce.

Over two thirds (67%) felt everyone in their company had an equal chance to succeed, up from 57% in 2021.

Sandra Kerr, race director at Business in the Community, said getting managers and senior leaders involved will help companies boost their diversity.

She told HR magazine: “It’s clear that employers are being more proactive in hiring diverse talent and offering flexible and remote working options, but more must be done to address inequalities in the workplace.

"By setting objectives for managers and senior leaders to promote inclusion and equal access to opportunities for all colleagues, and by including diverse voices in decision-making, employers could go further to support the retention, progression and sense of belonging for employees.”

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Of those surveyed, 39% said there were occasions where the chances of them being selected for a job had been limited, down from 61% last year.

Yvonne Smyth, Hays' head of equity, diversity, and inclusion, said there was still room for improvement despite the positive signs.

She told HR magazine: “It’s really positive to see a number of considerable year-on-year changes in our data, indicating that employers are putting in a significant amount of effort and taking action to build more inclusive workspaces.

"But there is still a long way to go, with the need for ongoing progress when it comes to attracting and retaining diverse talent, made even more pressing in a talent-short market. For employers, there’s also no harm in seeking out the advice you need from ED&I experts who can help you navigate challenges to drive changes that really make a difference.”

Despite the improvements, 33% still felt people of different ethnicities were not treated as equals at work, while the same percentage felt similarly about people aged over 50.

Age was a factor which affected job prospects for 56% of participants, while ethnicity (35%), gender (31%) and socio-economic background (15%) also proved to be barriers.

Hays surveyed 3,175 UK employers and professionals in July 2022.