Diversity and equality

Diversity and equality

Did you know, (because I didn’t) that the current administration agreed to make Section 78 of the Diversity and Equality Act 2010 – which makes gender pay discrepancies transparent – compulsory.

Currently women earn .81p for every £1 a man earns (ONS).

This means that from early 2016 firms with over 250 + employees will have to publish any pay gaps between the genders!

That should make for some very embarrassing reading in early 2016. As any women will tell you, asking to be paid what you are worth, not to mention the same as your male counterparts doing the same job, is an excruciating, usually futile experience. Maybe this naming and shaming might result in a level playing field, who knows, I for one will be interested to see how all this plays out.

On a slightly different topic but relevant,

I attended a meeting this week at Green Park executive search and while I was waiting I started to read their rather brilliant booklet called DIVERSITY – A ten minute guide for the busy executive, part of their little green book series. It was a surprisingly illuminating read and I was particularly taken with their ‘Nine figures that will startle you’ piece on diversity in the UK workplace. To put it all in perspective according to the piece, in 2011 87% or 55 million people in the UK describe themselves as White. The remaining 13%, some 8.1 million belong to an ethnic group, representing 1 in 8 of the UK population. The article goes on to say,

1 – 65 companies in the FTSE 100 – in effect, two out of every three companies have an all White executive leadership (Green Park Diversity Analytics)

2 – Fewer than half of all Londoners now describe themselves as White British. The same is true of Leicester, Luton and Slough (ONS)

3 – The US is also reaching a demographic tipping point. Black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed race births comprised over half of new arrivals in 2011 – (US Census Bureau)

4- Nigeria is projected to become the worlds fourth most populous contrary by 2050 (Population Reference Bureau)

5 – 8% of Black students are at Russell Group universities, compared with just a quarter of White students. (Equality and Human Rights Commission)

6 – Only 17% of disabled people were born with disabilities. The majority acquire their disability in the course of their working lives. (Papworth Trut)

7 – Women represent a growth market more than twice as big as China and India combined (Harvard Business Review)

8 – Across the UK in 2012, the full time gender pay gap in annual earnings was just under 20%. The gap was widest in the financial and insurance sectors. Across all sectors, pay discrepancies were most pronounced among managers, directors and senior officials. (Equality and Human Rights Commission)

9 – Britons think that youth ends at the age of 35; for Greeks the age is 52 (European Social Survey)

So what this article says to me is, that most companies in the UK need to smarten up and dust off their Diversity and Equality policies and make a concerted effort to adequately reflect and mirror the current and future demographic, that is where their customer base and profits will lie. We should all be doing it now.

Talent is diverse and spans all spectrums, people should be rewarded and promoted according to their abilities regardless of any other factors, one no one group shut out from the upper echelons of corporate and business life.

If you require help with your diversity and equality in the workplace, please get in touch,

 

Express yourself!

Express yourself!

I had drafted this post yesterday and lo and behold I was having a conversation with someone who asked me this very thing, so I had to post on it.

Everyone is unique and entitled to express their individuality. Right?

Well you would be mistaken, especially when it comes to work. I often get asked from exasperated employers what to do about an employee who is coming in showing their rather colourful, dis/tasteful tattoos, body piercings/maimings, (there appears to be a rise in people willingly putting giant holes in their ear lobes), looking dirty, scruffy, unkempt, too much cleavage, legs etc and the employee refusing to do anything about it on the grounds of their rights and their right to express their individuality. woman_suit

Its an easy one to answer really, not to put too fine a point on it, if you are an employer and employing someone to do a job, you are entitled to insist employees are clean, hide or remove all visible piercings, body art, cover up and come to work in clothes that show respect for themselves and their colleagues and reflect the culture of the organisation. Usually an embarrassing conversation about smartening or covering up and a gentle reminder that the workplace is not the set of  TOWIE, a night club or a body art convention suffices. Tell them to cover up, clean up and dress appropriately end of.

I came across an organisation recently who expressly told their prospective candidates NOT to wear a suit to the interview. Thats fine, now everyone knows you can show up there dressed casually and no-one will bat an eyelid. If you don’t mind tattoos and jeans, then thats fine too, no point in turning up there in a suit.

Conversely I’ve come across an individual who worked in a corporate environment, suits and smart dress all around, who insisted on wearing scruffy t-shirts and jeans, and refusing to wear shoes, preferring instead to walk around in their socks. It took some persuading and then threats to get them to raise their sartorial game, but the end result is that individual literally torched their own long term career prospects full stop.

Bottom line is – your organisation – your rules and if an individual wishes to express their individualism and you would prefer they not do it in work time, then they do so outside of work hours or outside of your organisation. Work, unless you want to create that environment is not the place to experiment with an alternative look.

Make the rules and your dress standards clear from the beginning, at the interview stage even. If you want a rule followed then set the rules in advance. A good code of conduct always helps, a mention of dress codes in the contract and staff handbook and a brief paragraph in any Induction manual usually does the trick. No need to have the 80 page dress code manual some organisations have where even the denier of tights is insisted upon. Then if all else fails……………………..