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23rd September, 2021

Attempts to further bridge the gap for diversity in the workplace

Attempts to further bridge the gap for diversity in the workplace

Following on from last month’s article entitled ‘Disability Awareness for Employers’, we are exploring how to further diversify the workforce, this is due to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) making calls for employers to report pay details of those from different ethnicities in the workplace.

Diversity in the workplace is about valuing the workforce as individuals and recognising that people can be different in many ways. Promoting and supporting diversity, recognising differences in individuals as a positive attribute is always beneficial to a workplace and is an important aspect of people management and corporate reputation.

It is essential for businesses to have an inclusive environment, which brings about a happier workforce and environment contributing to employee wellbeing and engagement.

Calls for action required to promote diversity

In September this year, we have seen calls by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) for ethnicity pay gap reporting to become mandatory for all employers from April 2023 and to begin publishing their data on diversity[1], with particular focus being on ensuring people from differing socio-economic backgrounds are given equal opportunities.

Some companies embrace this – for instance, KPMG have already published their data[2], with their aim being for 29% of their partners to be from a working class socio-economic background. Currently, their figure sits at only 23%, however, they hope that by publishing their data, and encouraging others to do the same, that they will find a way to increase this number and allow there to be more opportunities for a wider group of people.

This publication has already had a knock-on effect. PwC have announced this month that they intend on publishing their own data[3] in order to give an insight into the spread of their staff’s socio-economic backgrounds.

However, this has not been received well by everybody. Bill Michael, ex-chair of KPMG, stated that he did not believe in unconscious bias and that any previous training on the matter has not worked[4]. This view was distinctly unpopular however, causing Michael to resign and Bina Mehta to step in as current chair. She has since confirmed that training on “invisible barriers”[5] in front of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and how to prevent these will be given to all staff, in order to attempt to bridge the gap.

Inclusion and diversity policy

There is no current legal requirement for businesses to have a written inclusion and diversity policy, but it is a good idea for employers to think about having one and looking at ways to promote diversity and equality in the workplace.  This can include:

  • Introducing an overall strategy to increasing and raising aware of diversity in the workplace, which may include policies, produces and business goals.
  • Looking at workplace behaviour and how this can be changed through awareness, training and inclusion.
  • Ensuring open communication and consider employee voices and input.
  • Learning and development to consider awareness training, training for managers and team building.


Top tips for employers

  • Get to know your workforce – perhaps undertake a voluntary and anonymous survey to determine what backgrounds your teams come from. This will help you to assess whether you have good diversity or not.
  • Undertake and offer training around diversity and bias in the workplace – this can help you and your staff and managers understand how this manifests, and how it can be prevented from hindering their colleagues and preventing inequalities and discrimination in the workplace.
  • Encourage a welcoming work environment – if you do find your workforce is not particularly diverse, it may be difficult to attract those from different backgrounds to apply for roles. If employers are clearly welcoming of diversity, and supportive of those incoming, then candidates will be more attracted to applying.

[1] Faragher, J. 15 September 2021, CIPD calls for ethnicity pay gap reporting requirement by 2023, Personnel Today, (

[2] McCulloch, A. 9 September 2021, KPMG to increase proportion of working class recruits, Personnel Today (

[3] Ghouri, F. 13 September 2021, PwC to reveal pay gap between employees from different social classes, City A.M. (

[4] McCulloch, A. 9 September 2021, KPMG to increase proportion of working class recruits, Personnel Today (

[5] Ibid

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