One in five professionals have opted against pursuing a role because they didn’t feel the organisation was a pro-diversity and inclusion employer.

More than half (53 per cent) of Irish employees would like to see their employer have a voice on prominent diversity and inclusion issues, such as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, according to new research published by recruitment experts Hays Ireland.

In the past, many employers across Ireland have been reluctant to take a public position on issues that could be considered of a political nature due to the impact it could have on a company’s reputation.

However, new research suggests that today’s employees believe genuine authenticity on the part of their employer is a key requirement in creating a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace.

“Equality, diversity and inclusion policies have the potential to deliver powerful, tangible and immediate benefits for an organisation”

According to the annual Hays Ireland Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Report, employees in Ireland want to see their employer communicate the company’s position on issues including BLM to both external and internal audiences, while one in five (18pc) would also like to see their employers communicate their position internally only. The remaining 29pc of employees do not believe their employer should weigh in on issues or themes of this nature.

Equality, diversity and inclusion matters

The research found that organisations in Ireland may lose out on top talent if they fail to invest in diversity and inclusion strategies that reflect today’s societal discourse.

Seven in 10 (71pc) of employees said that an organisation’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies were important to them when considering a role. Furthermore, 21pc admitted having, at some point, decided against pursuing a role because they didn’t feel the organisation was a pro D&I employer. This figure rises to 27pc amongst under 25s.

“Equality, diversity and inclusion policies have the potential to deliver powerful, tangible and immediate benefits for an organisation,” said Maureen Lynch, director at Hays Ireland.

“Namely, they help employees from all backgrounds feel confident and included within the organisation, while also boosting morale and productivity across the organisation.”

In relation to retaining top talent, this issue is also important with 36pc of all respondents saying they would consider changing roles if their employer did not publicly support campaigns promoting diversity and equality. 

“Today’s young people want to be their authentic, true selves at work, expressing their views and allowing their unique professional and personal strengths and vulnerabilities to shine through”

Again, this issue of D&I was particularly prominent amongst the under 25 respondents, with nearly half (47pc) of all employees within this age category suggesting they would consider changing roles if their employer failed to publicly support campaigns of this nature.

“Equality, diversity and inclusion policies must be treated by employers as evolving strategies that are regularly revisited, sense-checked and updated to ensure they reflect the economic, social and cultural conditions of a modern, rapidly evolving society,” continued Ms Lynch. 

“In other words, just because your organisation’s D&I policies were fit for purpose five years ago, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily work today. This is particularly important when looking to recruit and retain recent graduates and under-25s. 

“As our research bears out, today’s young people want to be their authentic, true selves at work, expressing their views and allowing their unique professional and personal strengths and vulnerabilities to shine through.

“This also includes being able to talk openly to colleagues about their respective value systems and the issues that are most important to them. By extension, they also want to know their employer’s position on many of these same issues.  For many employers, this represents a new and uncomfortable departure, however, by neglecting to engage with these issues, they may ultimately undermine their ability to recruit and retain their best talent,” she concluded.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 18 November, 2020

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