Diversity in the workplace: a huge change coming for businesses
Diversity in the workplace isn’t just about gender equality, it’s about race, sexuality and religion – and millennials won’t stand for discrimination; that was the message from TheBusinessDesk.com exclusive breakfast event on diversity in the workplace.
Hosted and sponsored by Freeths, the event highlighted the incredibly complex and sensitive nature of how best businesses can promote diversity to its workforce.
David Potter, partner and head of employment at Freeths, said: “There is a huge change coming for businesses. Millennials now expect difference in their workplace; they don’t see the difference between two people, whether that be in their ethnic background, their gender or their sexuality. Businesses have to learn to be open to this if they want to keep the best talent.”
Speaking about equal opportunities for women, Jane Biggs, managing director at Bygott Biggs Legal Recruitment, said: “I’ve noticed more women in leadership roles over the last decade, and I’ve certainly never felt held back.”
Potter said: “We have to ask ourselves why more women aren’t at the top of companies. Things do often to seem to fall down when it comes to women being promoted Why is that? Is it because they’re not good enough? Is it because they’re being discriminated against? Are there other factors It’s a very complex question to answer.”
Kavita Oberoi, managing director of Oberoi Consulting, said it came down to individuals. “Before you promote anyone, you have to ask: ‘Can they do what you want them to do’, regardless of their ethnicity or gender.
Lauren Allen from Frontline Recruitment said he was a fan of quotas at all levels in businesses, but that he thought his company was doing well in this respect. “There’s been a big change in the last 15 years,” he said. “Business owners have been forced to think about diversity – even when they’ve not particularly wanted to.”
Potter said the legal sector was changing. “People are less likely to sell their souls to the devil these days,” he said. “Younger legal professionals don’t have the same sense of loyalty as they used to, and it’s become more difficult to ask them to do a 60-hour week. As far as promoting people from a diverse background is concerned, it becomes very objective to say who is best suited for a promotion. That’s the difficulty many firms are having to deal with.”
Biggs added: “Less than a third of partners in law firms are women. The questions remains: is there a glass ceiling, or do they not deserve to be there?”
Original Source – Sam Metcalf, The Business Desk – http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/eastmidlands/news/2001560-diversity-workplace-huge-change-coming-businesses