Diversity and equality: how is your sector doing?

The
progress of organisations towards achieving equality and diversity varies
greatly from sector to sector. We look at some of the detailed figures behind
the headlines.

Respondents
were asked to indicate through a four point scale ("agree strongly",
"agree slightly", "disagree slightly", "disagree
strongly") the degree to which they agreed with the following statements:
● "Diversity and equality are embedded throughout our organisation,
and not just seen as an HR initiative"
● "Our line managers understand the business benefits of diversity
and equality strategies
● "Equality and diversity issues feature in our organisation’s
performance system"

"Diversity
and equality are embedded throughout our organisation, and not just seen as an
HR initiative"


59 per cent of respondents either agreed strongly or agreed slightly with the
statement, while 41 per cent disagreed strongly or disagreed slightly. 


Most responses were in the middle categories of "agree slightly" (39
per cent) and "disagree slightly" (24 per cent).


Public sector responses were more positive than the Private sector, though the
margin was not wide.  Among the public
sector 24 per cent agreed strongly and 43 per cent agreed slightly with the statement,
while in the private sector the corresponding figures were 19 per cent and 35
per cent.  The level of respondents that
disagreed slightly were 21 per cent (public) and 26 per cent (private), while
those who strongly disagreed measured 12 per cent (public) and 19 per cent
(private).


There was some reduction in "agree" responses with increases in
organisation size, illustrating perhaps the need for additional training and
communications effort to accompany organisational growth.  Among private sector organisations, for
example, the levels of respondents agreeing strongly were 25 per cent (less
than 500 employees) and 13 per cent (greater than 1,000 employees).


The highest levels of disagreement with the statement were found in utilities
(28 per cent disagreed slightly, 56 per cent disagreed strongly), transport (56
per cent disagreed slightly and 33 per cent disagreed strongly) and aerospace
(40 per cent disagreed slightly and 20 per cent disagreed strongly)

"Our
line managers understand the business benefits of diversity and equality
strategies"


Average responses tended to cluster around the "slightly agree" (38
per cent) and "slightly disagree" (32 per cent) categories.  Some 13 per cent agreed strongly with the
statement while 17 per cent disagreed strongly.


Organisational size appears to be an issue here.  Among both public and private sectors, the number of
"agree" responses reduced as the number of employees increased.  In the Public sector, for example, the level
of respondents strongly agreeing with the statement reduced from 20 per cent
(less than 500 employees) to 14 per cent (greater than 1,000 employees).  Similarly the level strongly disagreeing
rose from 10 per cent to 14 per cent. 
In the private sector the level of "strongly agree" responses
fell from 16 per cent (less than 500 employees) to 6 per cent (greater than
1,000 employees), while the "disagree strongly" responses rose from
16 per cent to 23 per cent.


The sectors performing least well in this area (with the combined "disagree"
responses shown in brackets) were utilities (84 per cent), aerospace (76 per
cent) and construction (68 per cent). 
Those sectors with the highest combined level of "agree"
responses were housing (89 per cent), charity (63 per cent) and health (63 per
cent).

"Equality
and diversity issues feature in our organisation’s performance system"


Just over half the respondents (52 per cent) disagreed with this
statement.  17 per cent agreed strongly;
31 per cent agreed slightly; 29 per cent disagreed slightly, 23 per cent
disagreed strongly.


More public sector respondents agreed with the statement than did private
sector.  Among public sector respondents
the level of agreement tended to increase with the organisation size, while in
the private sector the reverse was the case. 
Combined "agree" responses for public sector organisations
rose from 58 per cent (less than 500 employees ) to 71 per cent (greater than
1,000 employees).  In the private sector
the corresponding figures were 40 per cent and 32 per cent.


The sectors recording the highest level of combined "disagree"
responses were utilities (81 per cent), aerospace (72 per cent) and
construction (71 per cent).  The sectors
recording the highest combined "agree" responses were local
government (83 per cent), central government (80 per cent) and housing (55 per
cent).

Conclusions


Organisational size need not mean a deterioration in equality and diversity
performance.
– There may be a greater need for focused training and communication effort in
larger organisations.
– Line managers are key in implementing equality and diversity policies
"on the ground".
– Some sectors, such as utilities and construction, have not engaged line
managers fully in an equality and diversity culture.
– Inclusion of equality and diversity measures in performance management
systems can contribute significantly to the leveraging of improvements.

Workforce
Diversity and Equality: integral to the business agenda
is available from Personnel Today Management
Resources
.

Keeping
up with new legislation

Sponsors
of the Workforce Diversity and Equality research, DLA’s Equality &
Diversity Group, will be running a series of events on the hot discrimination
topics:.


July and August 2003: Tailored in-house training programmes to help
organisations understand the changes to race discrimination legislation,
including the new definition of harassment.


October 2003: a series of workshops enabling employers to get to grips with the
new legislation outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
and religion or belief.


February and March 2004:  Seminars on
the wide-ranging changes to the Disability Discrimination Act, and the positive
steps employers can take to tackle age discrimination before the new
legislation comes into force.

If
you would like to receive details of these events please contact: Dennis
Taylor, DLA Equality & Diversity Group at: mailto:dennis.taylor@dla.com

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