Almost 3 in 4 professionals experience ‘discriminatory or exclusionary behaviour – new research

Research conducted on behalf of 12 professional membership and regulatory bodies, has revealed that while companies are implementing EDI initiatives, there is growing scepticism among professionals that these are ‘box-ticking’ exercises.

The study includes insights from more than 7,000 professionals across a variety of sectors. It found that nearly three-quarters of respondents had experienced barriers to career progression (73%) or some form of ‘discriminatory or exclusionary’ behaviour in their workplace since the start of 2019 (72%). Negative experiences were even more pronounced among those with multiple marginalised characteristics.

“For many years, the professions have shown real commitment in taking action on EDI. Yet we need to drive greater change, with organisations pushing forward higher standards,” said lead researcher, Alice Bell.

“The findings highlight the critical role of professional and regulatory bodies as agents of change. The organisations driving this research together represent more than 750,000 UK workers, and they possess the influence, expertise and networks to raise standards and drive progress on EDI through training, guidelines and support for members.”

Key findings

Concerns emerging from the research include:

  • Widespread scepticism that ambitious EDI goals are being translated into meaningful actions, with a perception that rhetoric and box-ticking exercises bring few tangible improvements. As a result, support for EDI efforts seems to be waning.
  • Access and entry routes into many professions that remain challenging for people from minority backgrounds, with systemic barriers related to affordability of qualifications, accessibility issues, and lack of role models. This contradicts notions that professional success is based on merit.
  • Many professionals feeling excluded from informal networks and opportunities to develop. More than half (53%) have considered leaving their employer or profession due to EDI concerns, related to feeling undervalued or having limited scope to progress.

You can download the report here and, of course, Empower Up has all the information and resources you need to implement an effect EDI programme – including an Intro to EDI section and the Your EDI Journey area.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

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