A third of workers in Ireland do not feel their organisations treat everyone fairly according to new research on workplace diversity and inclusion.
The study by the Irish Centre for Diversity shows that 90% of workers feel respected and valued by their immediate colleagues but two out of five respondents said they did not feel their organisation advances equality of opportunity.
Half of employees believe their organisation is doing enough for diverse groups.
“When we quote the figure of 90%, that’s great, but there is another 10% that we have to watch out for and look for,” said Laura O’Donovan, head of business development at the Irish Centre for Diversity. “But, in general, people feel very valued by their direct line colleagues and maybe immediate managers.”
However the survey finds that half of employees want their organisation to do more to improve diversity and inclusion.
It also finds that representation of workplace diversity declines the further up you go in an organisation.
62% of respondents said junior managers reflect an accurate picture of diversity but this drops to 51% for senior management and falls further to 41% at board level.
“I’d love to say it is, but it’s not really a surprise,” said Ms O’Donovan. “We know some of the organisations we work with will have specific departments that are very diverse, and then as you go up to board level it won’t be very diverse.”
One of the main areas cited as requiring work was around accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as those from different backgrounds.
Ms O’Donovan said companies tended to do well in some areas – but were falling short in simple ways.
“A lot of the time organisations think that they need to rework the buildings but a lot of it is actually down to access to the communications, the information that they’re giving out when it comes to documentation, marketing material, and that kind of thing,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not as clear cut as organisations think – it’s not just about a building, it’s about access to information as well.”
The Irish Centre for Diversity has launched a new diversity and inclusion benchmarking system to allow organisations to compare their performance across different sectors.
The data details how fairly and respectfully workers in Ireland feel they are treated, and the extent to which workers feel their organisations promote fairness and equal opportunity.
It also explores perceptions of fairness and equality for diverse groups such as people with disabilities and those from a different ethnicity or race.
“Our data provides a clear picture of the lived experiences of people in workplaces across Ireland,”said Caroline Cummins, Managing Director, Irish Centre for Diversity.
“Being able to compare and chart progress is a big enabler for employers seeking to build great workplace environments and retain talent,” Ms Cummins said.
The data is based on accreditation submissions from 96 organisations employing more than 60,000 people in Ireland.
The results are based on responses to company-wide surveys researching employee perceptions and experiences of their current work environments.