Although there were only 58 respondents from the UK and Ireland (UK&I), the differences in the responses were large enough that made it worth taking a deeper dive into the numbers focusing on DEI in the UK and Ireland.
Jump to the full infographic – or download it for yourself here. For a deep dive, check out our full report on DEI at work.
We found eight major highlights for you on how UK&I compares with non-UK&I when it comes to DEI at work. Here they are:
1. 2020 was a bigger influence on DEI awareness
The growth of personal interest in DEI in 2020 was higher for UK&I than for other respondents, with 33% of UK&I respondents saying DEI became more important this year compared with 22% of non-UK&I responses. The opposite was true for respondents who answered that it always has been important to them, with 58% of UK&I respondents and 71% of non-UK&I saying it has always been important to them.
2. The will is stronger – but what’s the way?
UK&I respondents are more likely to say they’re interested but just don’t know how to go about it. When asked about the current state of DEI in their company, 15.5% of UK&I say they’re interested but don’t know where to start, compared with just 9% of non-UK&I.
When it comes to top challenges in meeting DEI targets in recruiting and hiring, 11.5% of UK&I respondents said they didn’t know how to do it, compared with just 2.4% of non-UK&I respondents. We saw similar differences when it comes to challenges in meeting overall DEI targets, with 17.3% of UK&I vs. 10.6% of non-UK&I saying they don’t know how to do it.
3. Progress? Not so much here
UK&I respondents are much more pessimistic in how they perceive DEI progress in their own company. Close to half (44.2%) of UK&I respondents said they don’t feel like their company is making meaningful progress in DEI, compared with one quarter (25.2%) of non-UK&I respondents.
4. A more prominent voice and ownership
UK&I respondents are more involved in sparking the conversation on DEI – and they’re also in charge of it now. Same goes for HR. A full 69.2% of UK&I respondents said they themselves were directly involved in that initial conversation, compared with 48.6% of non-UK&I.
Even more (76.9% vs. 60.4%) said they are tasked with executing on DEI initiatives in their work, and 25% vs. 15.8% said HR had initiated that conversation in their business.
5. It is the way – and it’s good business sense too
The moral imperative for DEI is stronger in UK&I, and so is the business case. External influences and brand reputation? Not so much. We learned that 57.7% of UK&I respondents said DEI is the right thing to do, compared with exactly half of non-UK&I respondents – and more cited the business benefits as a motivator (30.8% vs. 21%).
When it comes to social expectations (13.5% vs. 20%), company/brand reputation (13.5% vs. 21.6%), and current events and trends (5.8% vs. 14%), UK&I respondents are less likely to choose those as factors in DEI motivation.
6. Total diversity > leadership diversity
For UK&I respondents, leadership diversity is much less important – it’s more about overall company representation. Equal opportunity? Much, much less than others.
A full three quarters of UK&I (75%) picked “diversity throughout entire company” compared with 64% of non-UK&I, and fewer UK&I respondents (21.2% vs. 25.3%) picked “diversity at executive level” as a priority area in their DEI strategy.
Strikingly, when it comes to measurable DEI data points, just 11.5% of UK&I chose that as a target metric for progress compared with 24.6% of non-UK&I, and just 5% vs. 31.2% chose “promotion / advancement” as a metric. The latter is interesting, as it’s an indicator of equal opportunity in a company.
7. Talent availability is an even bigger challenge
In recruiting and hiring for DEI, the available talent pool is one of the top limiters for UK&I respondents. UK&I respondents said the talent pool in their industry (34.6%) and in their location (21.2%) were major limiters, compared with 11.5% and 8.8% of non-UK&I respondents respectively.
8. Not as much buy-in at the top – but does it matter?
Executives aren’t as interested, say UK&I respondents. But that’s fine, because the responsibility for DEI falls on everyone – or no one. One quarter of UK&I respondents cite executive buy-in as a major challenge to DEI targets, compared with 18% of non-UK&I.
And far more of UK&I (51.7% vs. 37.6%) say everyone should be responsible – and far less (13.8% vs. 27.3%) say executives / management should be responsible.
What do you think? Let’s have a conversation about this, as we’re all learning together. Ping us on LinkedIn or email us at [email protected].
Source for all data: All roads lead to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workplace. But which one do you take?, published by Workable in January 2021