National Inclusion Week 2021 – What's Happening in UK Workplaces?
30 September 2021 | Updated 01 October 2021
To commemorate this year’s theme, #UnitedForInclusion, ThisWeekinFM is reviewing some of the workplace inclusion headlines over the past quarter.
National Inclusion Week celebrates everyday inclusion in all its forms, bringing together organisations together from across the globe to celebrate, share and inspire inclusion practices.
Evidence has long shown that by allowing employees to bring their whole selves to work, organisations attract and retain a wider diversity of talent. This culture then empowers teams to think differently and be more inclined to share their perspectives, driving innovation, development and engagement.
Business in the Community (BITC) statistics demonstrate this: organisations with more diverse teams have 36 per cent better financial returns.
“FM teams have got relationships throughout organisations at all levels, so the potential to make their influence felt is quite immense.”
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the inclusion headlines in the business world over the last quarter:
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10,000 Black Interns
In September, the 10,000 Black Interns programme opened applications for paid work experience across a wide range of sectors. The programme seeks to offer 2,000 internships to young black people each year for five consecutive years.
Several companies from the construction and property sector are offering internships, including British Land, Cushman and Wakefield, Mace, JLL and Great Portland Estates.
The premise of 10,000 Black interns is to offer transformative career opportunities to Black students in the United Kingdom. It builds on the successful launch of the #100black interns, where leading players in the investment management industry came together to address the underrepresentation of Black talent in their sector.
Picture: a graphic showing the 10,000 Black Interns logo
Business in the Community (BITC) figures tell us that in 2020 black employees held just 1.5 per cent of top management roles in the UK private sector, a figure that has increased just 0.1 percentage points since 2014.
Only one in 16 people at senior levels in the private and public sector are from an ethnic minority background.
Joseph Simeon, Programme Consultant to 10,000 Black Interns and an intern in a number of financial services firms in recent years spoke about his experience with the programme:
“As a Black male coming from an environment where nobody had ever worked in finance, my chances of having a career in financial services seemed close to impossible.
“However, after many applications – and plenty of support, particularly from the Amos Bursary – I finally secured the first of several internships which have led to a fantastic permanent position. I now see my set of work experiences as the most defining moments of my life so far and am under no illusion that I could have secured this without such support, advice, and sponsorship.”
“With over a third of LGBTQ+ people feeling the need to hide who they are at work, there is still much to do to ensure all workplaces are truly inclusive."
Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
In July, the government launched a new National Disability Strategy, including plans to consult on disability workforce reporting for businesses with more than 250 staff.
The strategy is in response to the UK Disability Survey, which had over 14,000 respondents. The data showed many disabled people feel held back in their everyday lives by the negative attitudes of others, and by poorly designed public buildings and facilities.
Over a quarter of disabled respondents often had difficulty accessing public buildings, while 1 in 3 disabled respondents often had difficulty accessing public spaces. Barriers faced ranged from a lack of disabled or changing places toilets to a lack of ramps.
More than half of disabled respondents not in employment reported that they would like more help finding and keeping a job. Of those in employment, only a quarter of disabled people and carers felt they had the same promotion opportunities as their colleagues. These findings highlight the need to improve support for disabled people to start or stay in work, to create more inclusive workplaces where disabled employees have an equal chance to progress and to strengthen rights in the workplace for both disabled people and carers.
The Institute of Government and Public Policy is holding an online event to discuss the key barriers facing disabled people in the workplace and how they can be removed to increase participation.
Through a series of keynotes from policymakers and disability charities and case studies giving practical examples of innovation and improvement, it will cover the most pertinent issues currently being faced by disabled people in the workplace.
In September, the government announced its first LGBT Business Champion, who will help British businesses to advocate LGBT equality
Iain Anderson, Co-Founder of a global PR firm, is a Stonewall Ambassador, on the Queer Britain advisory board and is a trustee of global LGBT rights charity GiveOUT.
His role also involves showcasing the UK as an inclusive place to live and work ahead of the UK’s first Global LGBT Conference, Safe To Be Me, which is taking place in June 2022.
Picture: a photograph of Iain Anderson
Appointed by the Minister for Women and Equalities, the unpaid role is for a maximum term of 18 months, although the position and role holder’s tenure can be renewed by another 18 months as necessary
Iain Anderson, commenting on the appointment, said: “I am passionate about securing equality in the workplace and I’m delighted to take on this new role.
“It is important that both large and small businesses can unleash the potential of all their LGBT employees and customers
“There is an opportunity for the UK to be a world leader on action by business to make this happen.”
Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, added: “We welcome the news that Iain Anderson has been appointed to the new role of LGBT Business Champion for the Government.
“With over a third of LGBTQ+ people feeling the need to hide who they are at work, there is still much to do to ensure all workplaces are truly inclusive.
“We look forward to working closely with Iain and sharing our advice and expertise to help transform workplaces and unlock the potential of LGBTQ+ people across the UK.”
Working-Class Targets Set at Big Four Firm
Big Four accountancy firm KPMG, became one of the first UK businesses to set a target for 29 per cent of its directors and partners to be from a working-class background.
KPMG is also the first UK company to publish data on socio-economic background pay gaps. They reported that working-class employees were paid 8.6 per cent less than those from the other socio-economic groups.
The data measures pay gaps between colleagues from different socio-economic backgrounds by looking at their parental occupation. This method of measurement is recommended by social mobility experts, such as the Bridge Group, as the most robust and reliable indicator of socio-economic background.
Detailed analysis of the data reveals that while KPMG’s senior and junior colleagues are its most socio-economically diverse cohorts, working-class representation in middle management grades is comparatively lower and this is contributing to the pay gaps.
To address this, KPMG will bring in new recruitment programmes dedicated to bringing in talent from lower socio-economic backgrounds at middle management and senior levels.
Picture: a photograph of Bina Mehta
It has also introduced the firm’s first-ever socio-economic background representation target, which will aim to see 29 per cent of its partners and directors come from a working-class background by 2030.
Currently, 23 per cent of the firm’s partners and 20 per cent of its directors are from a working-class background and working-class representation across KPMG’s Board is 22 per cent and 14 per cent in its Executive Committee.
Bina Mehta, Chair of KPMG in the UK, said: “The publication of this data builds on our concerted efforts over a number of years to track and measure the socio-economic make-up of our workforce.
“It’s only through this focus and level of transparency that we’re able to hold ourselves to account to take targeted action that will help create a fairer and more equitable society.
“I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity in all its aspects improves business performance. Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.”
LGBTQ in FM Group Podcast Shows Lived Experience of Non-Binary People
Picture: a graphic showing three non binary-people
In July, The LGBT+ in FM group released a special podcast series to mark Non-Binary People’s Day called “Crash the CIStem”
Bianca Hermansen of ISS, who is an LGBT+ in FM member joins friends Sanne and Frederick for a real conversation where the three share their lived experiences of being non-binary – what it means to them, the challenges of being non-binary in a CIS-normative world and how activists and allies alike can do to make this world a better place for the global non-binary population.