Investors in People (IIP) has strongly denied that a ‘training apartheid’ exists at organisations accredited with its much-heralded award.
The IIP standard is seen as a benchmark of how well companies manage and develop their employees. More than 30,000 UK organisations are recognised as Investors in People.
But a study of almost 15,000 people by Nottingham University Business School – half of which worked in IIP workplaces – found that a wider range of minority groups, including women and disabled workers, suffered disadvantage in training at these organisations than elsewhere.
The results come as a surprise because IIP requires organisations to fulfil an equal opportunities ‘indicator’ with regard to staff development. Research author Kim Hoque said the results suggested that large numbers of organisations were failing to meet this requirement.
“Although IIP requires organisations to uphold equal opportunities principles, it also requires them to gear their training provision to business need,” he said.
“Where business need is narrowly defined, this often means developmental opportunities come to be targeted on a cadre of core value-creating professionals and managers, rather than the workforce as a whole.”
But an IIP spokesman said any organisation seeking accreditation was “rigorously assessed”.
He said: “This includes analysis of whether it delivers the access to training and development support to all staff. If employers don’t meet the evidence requirements, they are not accredited.”