Last week Business Minister, Margot James wrote to the Chief Executives of all FTSE 350 companies asking them to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace in a letter published last week.

There was also talk of the first upcoming Diversity and Inclusion Group meeting which Margot James will chair. However, will this make any difference? And if so, will this forced diversity report just encourage people to hire to hit a quota rather than on merit?

Margot James said, “It simply makes no business sense for people to be left behind because of their ethnic background and I am asking FTSE 350 companies to play their part in driving the agenda for greater diversity.”

I am all for this personally, it has been proven that diverse workforces generate better results in the workplace ultimately because you have a diverse set of perspectives coming together to build a bigger picture.

Why was Brexit such a shambles? Well many reasons… but one very big issue was because most people hang around in their own circles, with people who think the same as them. I remember a lot of people in my corporate office in shock on that unforgettable day unable to understand who would vote to leave. On the other hand the 52% had to have come from somewhere.

Overall, we do not integrate enough as a society which means a lot of the time we only see half the picture. A more diverse workplace should mean a wider range of cultures, languages, and perspectives coming together to better aid a company’s strategy – that’s the dream anyway and something I encourage and discuss frequently in my work with corporate firms.

However, (and this is an issue I have heard in certain places) many people tend to hire to make up a diverse workplace rather than hire on merit. This is when the tick box exercise goes too far.

All this usually does is get people’s backs up and creates tension in the workplace. Sadly (and this happens with women as well), that these people are known as getting the job due to their ‘minority status’ and not on their merit. This then causes issues with the other employees on the ladder waiting to climb.

I attended a talk a few weeks ago with Girls Talk London and this issue was touched on. It isn’t really spoken about as it can be seen as a taboo subject. However I have seen this in the corporate world and while I am all for diversity and inclusion (especially ticking the minority box myself), this is when all the years of working hard can be seen as if it’s for nothing. Everyone needs to be treated equal. Everyone should get their job on merit regardless of gender, race etc. not to tick a box, not because the candidate is a daughter/son of a client, not because of personal relationships in the workplace but sadly this will take time to change.

This is definitely a great step in the right direction but I just hope that diversity reporting doesn’t give way to the right people losing out on a promotion and in turn a greater divide in the workplace.

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