Jane Gotts

Jane Gotts, Founding Partner, GenAnalytics on the journey to diversity for employers and why it’s time to pick up the pace.

"Life is a marathon, not a sprint" I find this quote coming into my mind regularly when we are working with clients on their diversity journey.

If we turn the clock back a few years ago, diversity and inclusion was barely on the business and economic agenda. Fast forward to 2018 and there's rarely a day goes by without a news article on diversity and inclusion or a company reporting its latest progress on driving forward the inclusion agenda. This shift in conversation on diversity and inclusion is hugely welcomed yet if we look at the facts, progress has remained stubbornly slow.

The gender pay gap in the UK remains stuck at 18% and it's only marginally lower in Scotland, hovering at the 16% mark. However we know that in some industry sectors, companies reported gender pay gaps far higher than the national average. Within the financial services sector, we saw some of the highest figures reported: 40%, 50%, 57% - just some of the data figures published.

Jane Gotts

Women across Scotland are still more likely to work in part-time, low paid sectors and on average earn £190 per week less than men.

Disabled people were less likely to be employed than able bodied people. Our workforces do not represent our population, with individuals from ethnic minorities less likely to participate or progress in the workplace, when compared to white individuals. And we still have to face the uncomfortable truths that the LGBT community continues to experience discrimination and bias, with many choosing not to be their true selves at work out of fear.

We know that these barriers that individuals face cannot be allowed to remain, but not only is diversity and inclusion the right thing to do - it is an economic imperative. Companies that are diverse are 35% more likely to have financial returns higher than their national industry median, according to research in McKinsey. Diverse companies are better at attracting and retaining talent. When employees work at companies that are inclusive, they have a higher level of loyalty and pride for the business they work for.

In Scotland, if we closed the gender pay gap, we would have a £6.5bn boost to our economy. A 5% rise in the employment rate of people with a disability would contribute an additional £6bn to the UK economy by 2030. Full representation of the BME community in our workforce would boost the UK economy by £24bn per annum - 1.3% of GDP. An estimated £70bn is earned and spent by the LGBT community in the UK every year.

So, the economic and business case for diversity and inclusion is clear. Employers who pay lip service to this do so at their peril.

We know there is still a long way to go - remember it's a marathon not a sprint. At GenAnalytics we believe that data will drive progress. This is our focus.

Employers can harness data to mainstream diversity. Data allows employers to benchmark themselves against competitors, establish baseline information and set targets for progress. Within the financial services sector we've seen really positive examples of this, including the Women in Finance Charter. Success attracts success, so there is a real opportunity to build on what's been done to date.

There is no room for complacency if we want to ensure that our economy and our businesses continue to thrive, especially in these challenging times. So let's up the pace a bit in the marathon - we've got the ability to do so - and let's really see a push towards the finishing line and the prize of a truly inclusive and high performing economy where our businesses thrive.

GenAnalytics is a data analytics insights consultancy which works with clients across every industry sector to drive business performance through greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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