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10th January 2019

D&I in 2019: What will be the common trends?

There are always some hot topics in D&I and here we’ve selected the ones which are trending at the moment and provided advice and guidance for employers. We are also currently conducting a survey to see what employers think will be the most important trend in D&I for 2019, and what you would like to see enei focus on. Please help by completing our short survey, thank you.

 

1.   Pay Gap Reporting:  Looking past Gender towards Ethnicity and Disability.

2018 saw the introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting for larger organisations, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission noting 100% compliance. As organisations publish their second annual report in the coming months, we will see what trends emerge. Moving beyond the figures themselves, we expect a greater focus on narrative to explain the differences and action plans to reduce unacceptable gaps. A survey from the Equality and Human Rights Commission showed 61% of women would take an organisation's gender pay gap into consideration when applying for jobs, and that half of women say that a gender pay gap would reduce their motivation and commitment to their employer. But what’s next? Well, a recurring topic for 2019 will be reporting on ethnicity and disability pay gaps. Some employers have already published their data with many more preparing for it now.

They see advantages in acting now rather than being forced to do so later. The first step is to look at what data they have and then work out what data they will need. The Government’s public consultation on ethnicity pay gap reporting suggests this will not be an easy feast.

The Government has recognised, since 2017, the need for ethnicity pay gap reporting, and they had hoped that business would take the lead. But a voluntary approach has not worked, so we are faced with another mandatory reporting regime. The consultation is seeking feedback on a range of considerations, one key focus being what data should be reported once collected. Currently there are 4 options under consideration:

  1. One pay gap figure comparing average hourly earnings of ethnic minority employees as a percentage of white employees’ pay
  2. Several pay gap figures for different ethnic groups, using standardised ethnicity classifications
  3. Ethnicity pay information by £20,000 pay band
  4. Ethnicity pay information by pay quartile

Reporting ethnicity and disability pay gaps will be a central topic during 2019. The EHRC have made the case for it for some time. Their reports and recommendations are worth a look at if you want to get an idea of what you could do to prepare. Moreover, in response to the Government consultation on ethnicity pay gap reporting, we submitted a response which makes for interesting reading.

 

2.   Gender Recognition Act 2004: Will there be any reforms?

How employers recognise trans people’s acquired gender will be a developing discussion in 2019 as the response to the consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) is hopefully published.

The GRA was seen as a world leading piece of legislation when it was passed 15 years ago. Many feel that it now needs modernising and are campaigning for reform, but there has been opposition, largely based on the presumption that this would undermine the protection the Equality Act allows for single-sex services to exclude trans people.

A statement by the Government Equalities Office, who are running the consultation, said that ‘Trans and non-binary people are members of our society and should be treated with respect’.

Many Trans respondents to the Government’s LGBT survey said that they wanted legal recognition but had not applied to do so, as the process to legally change their gender was too intrusive, bureaucratic and expensive.

What is the awareness of trans in your organisation and how do you go about supporting trans employees? To help you provide more support for Trans colleagues, and create a more inclusive organisation check out our Employer Guides, Employing Trans People, Gender Reassignment & Employment, and Allies.

 

3.   Global D&I: How is Cultural Competence making Glocal work?

How are multinational firms making D&I work on a global scale? 2018 saw the answer partly described in the term Glocal.

Not a new term, Glocal has been around since the early noughties, it refers to thinking globally and acting locally. An idea born out of the social justice movement in the US, it is now used to take global D&I thinking and translate that into local terms.

After mistakenly trying to impose a “one size fits all” approach, many leading international firms are realising global values through local cultural awareness. Cultural competence or CQ (cultural quotient), aka cultural intelligence, follows in the same vein as its predecessors, IQ and emotional intelligence. It provides the capability to successfully and practically achieve objectives and business aims around the world in different countries and in culturally diverse situations.

This is allowing global firms to become part of the local economy, develop local brands, talent, goods and services.

2019 will see the increasing use of cultural competence to develop D&I global strategies. To learn best practice and get tips for your global D&I strategy, read our Case Study, IBM – Global Diversity Networks.

 

4.   Pan diversity, achieving more with less.

As the workforce becomes more diverse the need to be more inclusive becomes inevitable if firms want to remain competitive and successful now and in the future.

2018 saw the term ‘intersectionality’ get more attention than the year before and it certainly looks like it will play a big part in 2019.

Individual experience means that we do not fit into just one personal characteristic description box or another, therefore firms that focus on one or two diversity aspects will not be able to support all of their workforce.

2019 will see a more holistic pan diversity approach take hold. The use of talent pipelines and a widening of diversity monitoring will play a greater part in tackling inequality, attracting and retaining talent, and improving productivity and workforce inclusion outcomes.

 

5.   Augmented Intelligence and recruiting diverse talent.

The use of augmented intelligence to remove bias (unconscious or otherwise) in the recruitment process began to increase throughout 2018. It can improve recruitment outcomes, reduce time, cut out bias and focus on the so called soft skills that make employees successful.

Augmented intelligence is being used as a complement to human intelligence, and its use is helping the recruitment of diverse talent become faster and smarter. It has some way to go but we will see more of this kind of software and application increase in 2019. If you are considering using AI to automate any part of your recruitment process, don’t overlook the new restrictions on the use of profiling introduced by the GDPR.

 

6.   Inclusive product design, marketing, goods and services.

D&I is moving to support the design of goods and services. We have seen D&I used internally to understand customer demographics. 2019 will see the early inclusive product design examples that emerged in 2018 begin to spread across a range of fields and sectors.

Possibly the best example of this inclusive design principle is the so called Fenty Effect. The singer Rhianna, (full name Robyn Rihanna Fenty), founded a cosmetics company called Fenty Beauty. As Rhianna stated, her launch ranges were ‘created for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races’. The range was well received, reputedly making $100m in the first 40 days of the launch. Mainstream brands are unsurprisingly following suit!

There are many other examples and this is set to increase in 2019 as D&I evolves beyond HR and becomes a business imperative.

 

7.   Data analytics: Measuring D&I success.

There has been a lot of discussion around the ability to make meaningful decisions from D&I data - “What gets measured, gets done”.

However, with increasing technological advances, it is becoming more common for organisations to be able to track real-time insights. So, 2019 will see organisations put more emphasis on data-driven D&I strategies, to help measure the success of their D&I initiatives. Read our Employer Guide, Equality Monitoring to get a better understanding of the importance of a data driven D&I strategy.