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Workers concerned about discrimination

Many believe that diversity and inclusion are not high on their employers’ agendas

One in five (20%) employees have taken action to hide their age, disability, social background or sexuality in the workplace or when applying for a job, according to research from Badenoch & Clark, part of The Adecco Group UK and Ireland.

Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace surveyed 2,000 British people and found that nearly four in 10 (39%) workers had experienced a form of bias in the workplace or when applying for a job.

A concerning number of respondents indicated that diversity and inclusion was not high on their or their firms’ agendas. Nearly a quarter (22%) feel their company does not embrace diversity and inclusion at any level, 29% had never read their company’s diversity and inclusion policy, and 11% said that their company does not even have one.

The top three improvements workers would like their organisations to make are: providing diversity and inclusion training (21%), more social events (18%), and more consistent diversity and inclusion communication (12%).

Nicola Linkleter, president of professional staffing at Adecco Group UK & Ireland, said employers still have a long way to go. “Each worker that has experienced bias is one too many, and employees will only ever flourish if they feel they can truly be themselves at work,” she said. “Businesses need to commit to living and breathing diversity and inclusion throughout the entire employee lifecycle and in everything they do – every strategy, every hire, every decision. Ultimately they should become inclusive by instinct.”

James Nazroo, professor of sociology at the University of Manchester and director of the ESRC's centre on dynamics of ethnicity, said that the report highlights ongoing problems in making workplaces truly inclusive. “This not only affects career progression, but also profoundly the health and wellbeing of employees,” he said. “Employers in both the private and public sectors need to engage in these issues and talk about the problems of discrimination in relation to age, gender, ethnicity and social background; not only to meet their legal responsibilities but also to improve their workplace cultures and the experiences of their employees.”