B&Q survey reveals UK’s resistance to diversity

A detailed survey into ethnic
minority and cultural issues in the workplace commissioned by DIY retailer
B&Q has highlighted the resistance to ethnic diversity in the UK.

B&Q, which has an excellent
record of employing older and ethnically diverse workers in it stores, carried
out the survey to gain an insight into the issues its employees face.

Nearly 400 employees responded to the survey and these are the main

● More than a third (36 per cent) of employees with ethnic
backgrounds believe they face discrimination in their everyday lives.

● 50 per cent of those surveyed also believe that there is
widespread discrimination against minority people in British society generally.

● 10 per cent of those surveyed had experienced discrimination from
customers at B&Q.  The company
intends to address this issue by training managers on how to deal with
discriminatory behaviour by customers.

● 49 per cent of respondents claim they have personally encountered
barriers to employment during their working lives as a result of the ethnic

● 72 per cent of the total sample said that they spoke languages
other than English.

● More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of those respondents said they
used these languages in-store, demonstrating that a culturally diverse
workforce can have a positive impact on customer relationships and the bottom
line of the business.

● Black/black British respondents were significantly more confident
about finding work than Asian or Asian British respondents – 69 per cent
compared with 53 per cent thought they would definitely or probably get a job
in the future.

● 77 per cent of Asian/Asian British respondents believed there was
widespread discrimination in British society generally, compared with 68 per
cent of black/black British respondents.

Sue O’Neill, B&Q’s social
responsibility manager (diversity), says that as one of the UK’s biggest
employers, it is important for B&Q to know how its diverse workforce is
feeling, what the company is doing well, and in which areas it can improve.

"The survey throws up no
real surprises, and reassures us that, while there is always room for
improvement, our staff value working in teams made up of people from different
cultures and backgrounds," she said.

"Creating a culturally
diverse workforce is certainly commercially viable for B&Q. We want to
continue to get it right and ensure that we reflect the local communities in
which we operate, and keep our staff and customers satisfied."

Quentin Reade

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