The UK workplace is now made up of almost 30 million people. When trying to understand what this looks like in terms of diversity and representation, the figures can get complex. To increase awareness and understanding of representation in the make-up of the UK’s workforce, we’ve reduced this number to just 100.
Doing so has made it easier to understand where UK industry needs to be doing more to ensure diversity exists and provides a useful base figure for organisations looking to conduct their own diversity assessment.
To calculate what the workforce would look like boiled down to just 100 people we used census data from the Office of National Statistics. In order to get a useful breakdown, we analysed nine different points. Each of these points were split into different groups found in the UK working population, which were then calculated as a percentage of a whole. The percentages were then rounded to the nearest whole integer to give the number out of 100 for each element.
The breakdown as a whole gives insight into the biggest industries in the UK, what people’s working hours look like, and highlights what diversity means in British workplaces. In some areas the visualisation indicates a lack of representation in the workplace, which businesses should be working to address.
Women are still striving towards accurate representation of their gender in the workplace as 100 people, when measured against the proportion of the UK population at large they account for. Currently, they’re under-represented by four people.
Each person in this visualisation actually represents 269,669 British workers, meaning there’s still a gender imbalance in favour of men across UK industries, which amounts to 1,186,676 people.
Britain’s population is made up of diverse ethnic groups from all over the world. When it comes to representing these in the workforce there is still some work to do. Currently, people from Asian and mixed-race ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in the UK workforce.
When it comes to faith, those who do not identify with a religion have better representation in the workforce. While those with no religion are over-represented by four people in our visualisation, Christians, Muslims and Hindus are all under-represented.
There are people who are unable to work due to an illness or health condition. But for those who can or still wish to work, we must make our organisations welcoming and accommodating towards these groups and any additional needs they have. Currently those in bad or very bad health across the UK are under represented by five people in the UK workforce as 100 people.
Improving Representation in the Workplace
The visualisation of the UK workforce as 100 people prompts us to think about representation and whether everyone has a voice in our industries. To improve diversity and representation across the workforce, individual companies need to take a more proactive role in promoting diversity among their staff.
Conducting Diversity Assessments
To get a handle on where your organisation stands when it comes to diversity, consider conducting an internal diversity assessment. A diversity assessment is a short analysis of your staff’s make-up based on elements such as gender, religion, ethnicity, health, primary language and sexuality. The results should provide percentage breakdowns of these stats.
You can then use this data to compare them with the figures uncovered in this study for the UK workforce, and the UK population as a whole. From this comparison you’ll have a clearer idea of where your business is at when it comes to representation and diversity.
The results will highlight if there are any shortfalls when it comes to these subjects in your workplace. Once you’ve found any that exist within your organisation, you can start to address the issues.
Why do Diversity Gaps Exist?
Before you get cracking with any plans to rebalance representation, you need to understand a bit more about why gaps exist. Have a look at demographic details in your local area, as well as nationally. Use this research to see if the same issue you’re having is noticeable in your local area.
If the location you’re based in is also lacking in diversity, this might help to explain why you’re seeing the problem reflected in your staff.
Creating the Right Work Environment
After you’ve identified issues, you need to look at what you can do to improve your organisation. It’s easy to overlook facilities that might be important to people, when you don’t need them yourself.
Assess your workplace through the eyes of under-represented groups. If your diversity assessment highlighted low numbers of religious people in your workforce, think about how they’d use your space. Is there a room available for reflection and prayer? Are they able to work flexibly around times when they need to pray?
Similarly, take at a look at your office from the position of someone with mobility issues, or using a wheel chair. Are they able to access the building the same way as other employees? Are desks and tables at appropriate or adjustable heights? Are supportive high-backed office chairs in situ? Are walkways wide enough? Are disabled toilets available?
It is important to have these facilities and checks already established before you try to address imbalances in your workforce. If you’re trying to make adjustments after you’ve already hired someone, it can draw unwanted attention to them and make the already stressful process of starting a new job even more so.
It’s not just the physical layout and facilities at your workplace that can be off-putting to new employees. The atmosphere in the office plays a big role too. Make sure there are no undercurrents of implicit bias in your organisation that could be an issue for potential employees. To better understand whether this could be a problem in your staff, establish an anonymous feedback system in your workplace, where people can openly report issues.
Also look at how you can help people feel like part of the team in your workplace. What do you do for team bonding and social activities? Try and vary these so they can be inclusive of everyone. For example, don’t always centre events around drinking, as this will be off-putting for some religious people and often those with young families who may not be able to stay out late as regularly as other staff members.
Once you have an accepting and open atmosphere, alongside a well-equipped workplace, you can look to actively address diversity issues. To actually overcome these often involves proactive approaches to recruitment. Start this from the source when creating your job adverts.
Try and avoid gendered language when writing an advert. Including male-orientated words and phrases can be off-putting to women and indicate a potentially hostile work environment to them. An Australian software company, Atlassian, made this change and in the following two years found they hired 80% more female applicants in tech roles.
Once you’ve nailed the wording of your job advert and description, seriously consider where you post it. Studies have shown that men and women search for jobs differently. Women tend to focus their searches on digital job sites, such as Indeed and Monster, while more men will choose to use Linked In listings. If you want to actively appeal to certain demographics, you can use Linked In to directly contact people who fit your job description, helping ensure a wide range of people see the advert.
Taking these steps should mean that you’re able to identify issues, ensure your workplace is welcoming and accommodating, and that your job advert postings promote you as a great employer.