DEI in the workplace: Unveiling employees' attitudes in Great Britain
July 14th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

DEI in the workplace: Unveiling employees' attitudes in Great Britain

Diverse companies been found to enjoy 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee, and inclusive teams also tend to be more productive by over 35%. A recent global study by the Boston Consulting Group also found that companies with above-average total diversity had both 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins, on average. Clearly, there is a case to be made for the implementation of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the workplace. How then, are organisations in the UK doing and are Britons satisfied with the steps taken by their employers? A recent YouGov Surveys: Serviced study explores the importance placed on DEI by the British workforce, their assessment of their employers and the subsequent initiatives they think should be implemented by organisations.

Before we do so, however, it can be helpful to get an insight into how many Britons feel like they have faced discrimination in the workplace. Of the 2,002 UK adults surveyed who are working part time or full time, a majority say they have never been personally discriminated against in the workplace (57%). However, it is important to note that a significantly higher share of our male respondents agree with this sentiment than our female respondents (62% vs. 51%).

Approaching a fifth of Britons say they have experienced gender discrimination (16%) followed by an eighth who say they have experienced ageism in the workplace (12%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, one in four women say they have faced gender bias (24%) compared to only 8% of the men.

Interestingly, Britons working part time or full time are far less likely to say that have experienced racism at their place of work compared to their trans-Atlantic neighbours in the US (7% vs 17%).

Evidently, a substantial share of our employed respondents – either part time or full time – have faced some sort of discrimination in the workplace. It comes as no surprise, then, that two-thirds of working Britons (66%) say that the acceptance and inclusion of employees of all backgrounds is important to them when considering job opportunities.

A closer look at the data by gender demographics reveals that our female respondents place more importance on workplace diversity and inclusion when searching for jobs (74%) compared to the men (58%).

When looked at by age, the data shows that the importance placed on diversity in the workplace reduces considerably as the age of the respondents increases. While almost four fifths of 18-to–24-year-olds (78%) say it is important to them in the pursuit of job opportunities, this proportion falls to 60% among adults aged 55 and above.

Incidentally, while less than a fifth of currently working Britons say that their previous place of employment valued such workplace diversity and inclusion (19%), a significantly larger share says the same about their current place of employment (41%).

Three-fifths of this group – UK adults who indicate that their previous and/or current workplace values diversity – say that their workplace has active DEI policies or initiatives (61%).

For a more detailed insight into the British worker’s opinions about DEI policies, we asked our respondents how they believe organisations can promote more diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And a look at the responses of working UK adults for whom such diversity is important reveals some interesting answers.

Encouraging regular employee feedback (63%) is the most popular of all the given choices followed by creating physically accessible workplaces (55%) and making diversity training accessible for all managers and senior positions (53%).

An equal share of respondents believe that organisations can promote workplace DEI by honouring all religious and cultural days or none of them and by highlighting workplace inclusivity in job descriptions (42% for all). One in four respondents also say that using gender neutral language in internal communication can be helpful (24%) while nearly a fifth feel the same way about hiring diversity managers (18%).

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on March 21-22, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 2002 adults in the UK (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted to be nationally representative. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.