Our award-winning reporting has moved

Context provides news and analysis on three of the world’s most critical issues:

climate change, the impact of technology on society, and inclusive economies.

Diversity key concern for UK workers, Glassdoor survey shows

by Thin Lei Win | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 1 October 2020 13:45 GMT

A commuter wearing a mask is seen at Canning Town station, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 13, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Image Caption and Rights Information

Black and LGBT+ survey respondents reported that their careers had suffered because of their ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation

By Thin Lei Win

ROME, Oct 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Even at a time of layoffs caused by COVID-19, three out of four British job seekers say workplace diversity would influence which company they choose to work for, according to a survey published on Thursday.   

The poll by job-website operator Glassdoor Inc serves as a wake-up call to industries from fashion to finance who have faced scrutiny over their lack of diversity in the aftermath of global protests against racism.

More than half of the 2,080 Britons surveyed in late August said their employers should be doing more to increase diversity. But how? Here are the survey's major takeaways and suggestions from Glassdoor on improving workplace diversity.

Why it matters:-

Companies globally are under pressure to confront racism following protests over the death in May of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in the United States, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

The survey results show how companies could struggle to attract talent if they are not seen as inclusive. 


What do the numbers say?

- More than one in two of mixed ethnicity, 49% of Black and 45% of Asian and LGBT+ employees would not apply for a job at a company that does not have an inclusive culture.  

- A large majority of respondents - 72% - believes a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers but those in under-represented groups feel stronger about this - 86% Black, 85% Asian, 80% Mixed and 77% LGBT+. 

- Half of Black, 42% mixed ethnicity and 40% LGBT+ employees said they have been held back in their career because of their ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation whereas only 15% of white respondents said the same. 

- In terms of gender breakdowns, women have persistently stronger feelings about workplace diversity and inclusion than men. 


What should companies do?

Carina Cortez, Chief People Officer at Glassdoor, said there is no one-size-fits-all approach but shared the steps Glassdoor itself has taken to improve diversity and inclusion. Here are some of her tips:-

- Eliminate Referral Bonuses

A survey of 53,000 workers by Payscale, a Seattle-based maker of compensation software, found referral programs benefit white men more than any other demographic, while women of colour are the least likely to receive a referral.

- Diversify Recruiting Efforts

Fundamentally change the way you identify and recruit candidates. Two ways to do this is by sourcing for talent using tools focused on diversity and ensuring interview teams are diverse. 

- Showcase Employee Resource Groups

These are voluntary, employee-led groups around common interests and backgrounds and demonstrate to job seekers they will have an immediate community and sense of belonging if they sign on.

- Highlight Career Paths for Diverse Employees

Not only is this a right thing to do, "ensuring that employees from underrepresented groups are positioned to succeed and rise in your organisation mitigates homogeneous thinking, which is a positive force for innovation," said Cortez. 

This also gives an important signal to candidates and employees from under-represented groups.

Related stories:

Workplace discrimination allowed in nearly one in four countries: study

Aid groups face calls to open up on racism as survey finds data holes

OPINION: How to choose a truly inclusive workplace

(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Tom Finn (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)