In 2020 there is a spotlight on diversity and inclusion in the workplace as never before.
The Black Lives Matter movement has underlined the extent of racism and racial inequality that exists in all areas of society, including at work. #MeToo has demonstrated the workplace sexism and barriers to career progression that many women still face. Almost a fifth of LGBT employees in the UK have been the target of negative comments or behaviour from their co-workers.
Diversity and inclusion must be an authentic, business-wide mindset and priority: because it is the right thing to do, and because it is instrumental in driving innovation and stronger business growth.
The emphasis on diversity and inclusion is also being driven by the arrival of Gen Z, those born since 1995, into the workforce. Every new generation represents a change in business practices, attitudes and expectations. For Gen Z, the priority is not just a stable and rewarding career, but the opportunity to effect change on the most pressing issues of our time: from combating inequality to tackling the climate crisis.
Gen Z is highly educated, digitally native and change minded. It is a cohort whose needs and motivations today’s leaders need to understand, especially when it comes to the question of diversity and inclusion. For Gen Z, these are issues that will determine career choices and brand preferences. Young people expect workplaces to be inclusive and will judge potential employers and job opportunities on this basis.
This is a generation for whom a lack of diversity and inclusion will increasingly be a deal breaker. Employers need to act accordingly, responding to the emerging workforce’s perspective, concerns and expectations. For businesses to attract and retain this future workforce, action must be taken today. Based on a survey of 2,000 UK adults, this report looks at how employees of different ages think about diversity and inclusion, experiences of bias in the workplace, and how these issues are set to define career choices as Gen Z enters and shapes the workforce in the years ahead.
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