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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Two in five employees experience workplace bias

Some 39% of UK workers say they have experienced bias at work or when applying for a job, while 20% have tried to hide their age, disability, social background or sexuality.

Many workers do not think their firm is inclusive ©Shutterstock

That is according to a new report by Badenoch & Clark, which reveals that 22% of staff do not think their company embraces diversity and inclusion at any level.

It shows that 54% believe their employer could do much more to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion, 29% have never read their firm’s official policy on the issue, and 11% do not think that it even has one.

“Each worker that has experienced bias is one too many, and employees will only ever flourish if they feel they can truly be themselves at work,” Professional Staffing president, Nicola Linkleter.

“Businesses need to commit to living and breathing diversity and inclusion throughout the entire employee lifecycle and in everything they. Ultimately, they should become inclusive by instinct.”

The top five improvements workers say they would like to see their organisations make are:

• Diversity and inclusion training (21%)
• More social events (18%)
• More consistent diversity and inclusion communication (12%)
• Mentoring programmes (12%)
• Depersonalising CVs (11%)

Despite many workers saying that they do not feel their company is inclusive, almost half say it is at board and management level, while 86% think it “employs a broad range of people from all social backgrounds”.

“The potential benefits for truly inclusive companies are considerable – from unlocking different opinions and boosting retention to improving engagement and profitability,” Linkleter said.

“All these factors will help an organisation to thrive and differentiate itself, something that is increasingly hard to do yet more and more important as the war for talent wages on.”

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace, replacing previous laws to make it easier to understand and strengthen some protections.

“Employers need to really engage in these issues and talk about the problems of discrimination, not only to meet their legal responsibilities, but also to improve their workplace cultures and the experiences of their employees,” University of Manchester professor of sociology, James Nazroo, concluded.

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