Few workplaces escalate importance of diversity in response to Black Lives Matter

Published: 28 October, 2020
Just 18 per cent of employers and 15 per cent of employees in New Zealand say the importance of equality, diversity & inclusion (ED&I) has increased in their workplace because of the Black Lives Matter movement.
But according to the survey by recruiting experts Hays, the majority of employers and employees say there has been no change in focus in their workplace as a result of this or other similar movements. 
Yet when they next look for a new job, 54 per cent of professionals say an organisation’s ED&I policies will be either vital or important considerations when deciding who to work for. 
Fortunately, over half (58 per cent) of employers recognise that their organisation’s ED&I policies are vital or important in attracting new talent.
In addition, 30 per cent say ED&I will become more of a priority for them in the next three to six months. 
“Despite COVID-19 headwinds, the Black Lives Matter movement and resulting demonstrations around the world brought the issue of equality, diversity & inclusion firmly to the fore,” says Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.
“However, it seems that only a small number of employers view ED&I as more important in their workplace as a result of the movement. Yet failing to commit to real and lasting ED&I action can weaken an organisation’s employment brand and damage their ability to attract new staff. 
“While it’s reassuring that 30 per cent of employers will make ED&I more of a priority in the months ahead, it’s also important to move beyond talk and make real progress.”

How to make ED&I progress in the workplace

According to Hays, one obstacle in moving from conversation to action is the failure to embed ED&I in the culture of an organisation. According to Adam, “This holds an organisation back because ED&I becomes more of a regulatory exercise. Rather than shifting mindsets around ED&I and embracing and celebrating underrepresented demographic groups and diversity of thought, the best that can be hoped for is a level of tolerance towards difference.”
The Hays survey found that 38 per cent of employers say ED&I is not embedded in their culture, either because it is not a priority, or it is viewed as a ‘nice to have’ only when time and budgets allow. 
Providing a sense of belonging for every employee, encouraging employees to have a voice, and fostering diversity of thought can also help improve ED&I within organisations, according to the recruiter. 
Hays’s survey was conducted in August 2020. The full results can be found in the new Hays Barometer Report, available at www.hays.net.nz/employer-insights/employer-tools/barometer-report

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For further information please contact Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, on adam.shapley@hays.net.nz or +64 (0) 9 375 9424.

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