Half of employers fear diversity creates a challenging work environment

Robert Walters Group employees in fruit costumes on global charity day

Almost half of employers (41%) claim that a diverse workforce can make collaboration more challenging. 

Whilst three quarters of companies (73%) state that diversity encourages creative and innovative thinking, they also claim that it is these differences of opinion that can be difficult to manage. 

The results come from a Robert Walters whitepaper – Diversity & Inclusion in Recruitment – which was re-published in time for World Cultural Diversity Day earlier this week (21 May 2019).

Chris Hickey, UK CEO at Robert Walters comments: “Employers must recognise the potential challenges that a diverse workforce can bring and have a strategy in place to overcome them.

“By doing so they can ensure that their workforce remains cohesive and is able to collaborate effectively while still gaining the advantages, such as a broad range of perspectives and ideas, that a diverse workforce can bring.”

Little Action Taken 

Despite 85% of companies claiming that increasing diversity in their workforce is a ‘top priority,’ almost half (46%) of UK employers do not have a programme in place to attract diverse candidates. 

In fact, half of employers (45%) do not monitor or measure employee diversity in any way or even have the means to do so and a further 45% believe their current recruitment tools are ineffective at attracting or targeting a diverse range of candidates. 

This is particularly true of companies’ websites – 73% of which are not accessible to candidates with disabilities. 

Added this, there appears to be a lack of consensus over who is responsible for developing the business’ brand and culture in order to appeal to a diverse range of candidates. 

56% of businesses believe that senior management should take the lead, a third (36) believe that it is the responsibility of the HR department, and a tenth (9%) believe marketing have a role to play.

Despite the majority believing that the key to tackling diversity starts at the top, it is alarming to see that just a tenth of businesses (13%) monitor how much time is spent discussing inclusion and diversity at senior management meetings. 

Chris Hickey adds: “One of the most shocking findings in the survey was the fact that 52% of employers do not ask their recruitment consultancy to provide a diverse shortlist of candidates. And whilst almost all employers (81%) recognise that unconscious bias can impact their hiring decisions, half (42%) use no tools to address this. 

“It is because of this reason that Robert Walters launched Adify - a new technology designed to encourage diversity in advert writing and a tool that will help employers recruit from diverse backgrounds.”

To download the full report click here.

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