Improving Workplace Diversity

workplace diversity

What started out as a contentious issue with the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has entered the public sphere dramatically as firms look to sure up their recruitment processes for workplace diversity.

The Bank of England’s decision to hire the sole man out of a shortlist of five came as quite a shock to most. The chances of another woman hired to committee was highly likely and this caused quite the fallout amongst the public. This following the gender pay gap figures, that put the national median at 18.4% in favour of men, firms are now taking steps to combat the lack of workplace diversity. In the UK alone, it is reported that just over a quarter of ‘C’ and Board-level positions are held by women, compared to almost 40% in France and Norway.

This triggered a sweeping transformation across several major organisations in London. Firms are adapting their recruitment processes to improve the workplace diversity within their offices, starting with the HR department. PwC attracted the national press earlier in June after announcing that all future shortlists for senior positions at the firm could no longer be all male candidates – the first of the big four consultancy firms. This tackles two of the key issues within the senior executive ranks – both the gender pay gap and the lack of women in senior positions at the firm. PwC is hoping that this change will open up further career opportunities for women and has taken the approach to start at the very top of the business.

Within the media sector, the BBC took it further and has made it an requirement to include at least one candidate from a BAME background for each senior position. The Beeb has set itself some measurable targets to increase the corporation’s diversity, with its workforce half made up of women, 8% of the workforce disabled, 8% LGBT and 15% from a BAME background (up from 6% currently). Strong targets to meet in the space of just two years, having set an initial deadline of 2020.

The benefits of these plans should allow those typically left behind in their careers to progress further and firms have the benefit of nurturing talent to their fullest potential. However, experts have called out the targets, putting quotas ahead of talent and merit. Ensuring shortlists meet all the requirements could be difficult while working at the senior positions, however here at Lumina we have always aimed to deliver a diverse range of candidates and we’ve noticed a significant shift in the number of women we have helped place.

Across Europe, countries are ensuring workplaces are diverse locations across all levels of business and with the likes of France and Italy introducing legislative quotas, firms may be forced into tackling this issue sooner rather than later. The industry is clearly taking steps forward and senior executive workforce could look much more reflective of the population in the near future.