Employers take proactive stance on diversity issues

Most employers have now reviewed their recruitment and selection process to
ensure they do not discriminate against women, a major new benchmarking study

However, the study by Opportunity Now finds more work still needs to be done
on pay, with only 27 per cent of employers conducting comprehensive equal pay

The report, based on responses from 226 employers, shows 86 per cent have
diversity- proofed their recruitment and selection procedures.

Almost three-quarters of employers now have a top-level gender champion in place,
up from 68 per cent last year.

The study also shows the number of employers with gender equality programmes
has increased from just over half to 65 per cent.

Clara Freeman, chairwoman of Opportunity Now, said the report shows
employers are being much more proactive in how they tackle equality issues, but
also that more needs to be done on monitoring the impact of equality action

The study shows the number of employers using a clear business case for
gender equality has jumped from 48 per cent to 60 per cent. More than 40 per
cent of employers provide gender/diversity training for staff involved in pay

Alison Dalton, equal opportunities and diversity manager at British Airways,
believes diversity at the firm has benefited after managers were given
mandatory diversity training and allowed to agree their own individual
objectives on equality.

"Allowing managers to set their own diversity objectives rather than
being prescriptive reinforces the culture of trust and empowerment that we are
trying to create to promote different ways of working and to focus on
delivery," she said.

By Quentin Reade


Case study

Investment bank Lehman Brothers has appointed a senior level
gender champion to drive equality policy in the firm.

The company identified a need for diversity to be championed
at  senior level after it created a
global diversity committee in 2001.

Maureen Erasmus, head of European strategy and gender champion
at Lehman Brothers International, said diversity is part of promoting effective
management and leadership.

Erasmus said the two factors critical to the success of
diversity are top-level commitment and a robust business case.

"All of our business areas had to make their own business
case. Every case was personally reviewed by the CEO and will be reviewed again
in six months," she said.

"The inclusion of baseline data on the gender mix in
recruitment, retention and promotion means we will be able to track performance
in each area."

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