Survey identifies measures to achieve fairer workplaces

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Employers that carry out equal pay audits, offer flexible working and aim to tackle unconscious bias in their organisations are more likely to benefit from diverse workforces and promote women to senior positions.

This is according to a report released today by Opportunity Now and Race for Opportunity, the gender and race campaigns of Business in the Community (BITC), which identified correlations between specific actions taken by employers, and increased recruitment, retention and progression of ethnic minorities and women in the workplace.

The Benchmark Trends Analysis Report 2012 highlights a number of steps that employers can take, including actions that correlated with a greater intake of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates, in order to improve the diversity of their workforces:

  • running pre-application events to improve candidates’ understanding of the recruitment process;
  • representation of ethnic minorities on interview panels;
  • tracking application progress by ethnicity in order to identify and deal with potential barriers;
  • setting clear objectives for BAME recruitment;
  • setting key performance indicators to demonstrate success in attracting and recruiting BAME candidates; and
  • implementing training on unconscious bias for those with interviewing and recruitment responsibilities.

The report also identified organisations that had no significant difference between their intakes of male and female candidates and found that they were more likely to have implemented the following actions:

  • setting targets for the recruitment of women;
  • informing recruitment partners of policies and objectives on gender diversity;
  • tasking recruitment partners with providing shortlists including women; and
  • implementing training on unconscious bias for those with interviewing and recruitment responsibilities.

Additionally, the report highlighted the significance of the accountability of senior management in achieving diversity, with 74% of respondents ensuring board members’ performance assessments included diversity and inclusion objectives.

Helen Wells, director of Opportunity Now, said: “The benchmark report absolutely confirms that what we ask employers to do works. First and foremost, it confirms that data is king as it enables employers to take effective action. It is gratifying that carrying out equal pay audits, flexible working and tackling unconscious bias has a clear impact on women’s progression – particularly at senior management levels. I hope that this encourages all employers to recognise the value in mandating these.”

Sandra Kerr, director of Race for Opportunity, said: “The trends highlighted in our trends analysis report support the work we have done to investigate barriers to BAME recruitment and progression – from the absolute need to have clear objectives, to the tackling of bias. The findings reiterate just how straightforward the high impact actions are for employers to implement, such as mandatory unconscious bias training, and the importance of leading on equality and inclusion from the top.”

For more information on equal opportunities policies and monitoring, see XpertHR’s employment law manual.

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