IE Autumn News & Insights: Topic 3 – Diversity & Inclusion

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Headline News & Insights

Reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations: Evidence-based actions for employers 

In September, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and Behavioural Insights Team (BIT – well known for their work using behavioural economics to drive policy change aka nudge theory) released a guidance paper ‘What Works” here which summarises a list of evidence-based actions classified as effective, promising and mixed when it comes to reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in the workplace.  For example, while well-intentioned, there is little evidence that diversity training will actually change behaviour. Research in the US in fact found that mandatory diversity training either has no effect on the number of women in management positions, or can actually reduce it.

Other examples from each category include:

  • Effective: Encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges; appoint diversity managers or diversity task forces
  • Promising: Improve workplace flexibility; offer mentoring and sponsorship
  • Mixed: Unconscious bias and diversity training; performance self-assessments

It’s a fascinating read and an extremely helpful resource for employers looking to improve their gender equality by implementing evidence-based actions. BIT are continuing to develop their study in more detail, working with the GEO and organisations to further develop their insights and build the evidence on what works. Watch this space.

Board Diversity Reporting in 2018: Financial Reporting Council and University of Exeter Business School (Sept 2018)

Board Diversity Reporting in 2018 provides a snapshot of diversity reporting across the FTSE 350 and identifies examples that lead the way in terms of quality and approach. The majority of the UK’s largest companies have adopted policies on boardroom diversity but their reporting to stakeholders needs to improve. The research shows that only 15% of FTSE100 companies fully complied with the UK Corporate Governance Code’s provision on diversity reporting by describing their policy on diversity, the process for board appointments, their objectives for implementing the policy, and progress on achieving them.

The FRC’s analysis shows that FTSE 350 companies’ approaches to diversity are wide-ranging.  While some do demonstrate a deeper understanding of diversity as an issue of strategic importance, the great majority appear to treat reporting as a compliance exercise, suggesting a lack of commitment.

What does this mean?  It tell us that the pace of change is still incredibly slow and whilst the revised UK Corporate Governance Code, which takes effect from 1 January 2019, requires improved reporting on diversity, we still have a long way to go if we are to move beyond ticking the boxes and being seen (rather than doing) to do the right thing.

Interview with Sally Todd, President, City Women Network, on the Power of the Business Leader as Real Model 

I was delighted to be interviewed by Sally, President of City Women Network (CWN), on the Power of the Business Leader as a Real Model for Diversity & Inclusion for the latest CWN newsletter.

You can read the full interview here