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Workplace inequality growing during the pandemic

Dec 09
 
Tags: Accenture
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Workplace inequality growing during the pandemic

Inequality in the workplace has been growing during the pandemic, with women who have children being particularly hard hit. That is according to a report published by Accenture, which took the opinions of more than 3,000 UK employees into account.

The ‘Who we are is how we’ll grow’ report found that mothers are spending nearly two hours each day longer providing childcare than before the coronavirus pandemic. Ethnic minorities have also been disproportionately hit by the challenges presented by the virus against the backdrop of events in the US.

Prior to the pandemic, 23 per cent of employees with disabilities reported feeling completely included at work. This latest report shows that proportion has now dropped to 16 per cent. The gap in those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds receiving the support they need at work compared to the rest of their colleagues has also grown to 19 percentage points - at 56 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.

While none of this sounds positive, it offers plenty of potential for improvement. In fact, Accenture has discovered through analysis that if all UK businesses improved workplace inclusivity by just ten per cent it could boost the nation’s economy by £393 billion by 2030.

It is thought this would be achieved through an uplift in ‘innovation mindset’ resulting in an increase of 1.5 per cent to the UK’s GDP each year. An ability and willingness to innovate is important within a business, but requires the right conditions.

Examining workplace culture, Accenture found 73 per cent of employees considered it was an important factor in helping them to thrive. While this was more strongly felt by women than men - 80 per cent compared to 66 per cent - it was echoed by leaders, 62 per cent of whom said an inclusive workplace environment and culture is imperative to the success of their business.

Olly Benzecry, managing director for Accenture UK & Ireland, said: “No-one has been left untouched by this crisis, but the impact has been particularly hard on individuals who already suffer when it comes to inclusion.

“However, out of every crisis there is an opportunity for positive change. By creating a more inclusive workplace culture and allowing all employees to thrive equally, businesses can tackle some of these long-standing issues head on and make real, progressive change.”

The report sets out four key areas that can be targeted by businesses in order to reduce inequality in the workplace:

  • Inclusive decision making - allowing voices to be heard to prevent actions from occurring that would inadvertently disadvantage underrepresented employees.
  • Inclusive work design - focus on skills and aptitude, rejecting outdated practices.
  • Inclusive workplaces - tailoring the culture to suit employees and intervening when the pandemic affects workers’ lives.
  • Inclusive restructuring and talent strategies - tapping into hidden talent pools and groups not already in the labour market.

Search Mindbench.com for the latest management consultancy jobs and consulting recruitment opportunities, or contact us on +44(0)207 089 9017.

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