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Diversity in Retail Annual Report highlights progress and challenges in EDI

Diversity in Retail (DiR) has released its annual report, shedding light on the state of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) across the hospitality, travel, leisure (HTL),… View Article


Diversity in Retail Annual Report highlights progress and challenges in EDI

Diversity in Retail (DiR) has released its annual report, shedding light on the state of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) across the hospitality, travel, leisure (HTL), and retail sectors.

The report provides valuable insights into the progress, challenges, and areas for improvement in promoting diversity and inclusion in these industries.

Tea Colaianni, Founder and Chair of DiR, said: “Looking ahead to next year the priority has to be maintaining our focus and accelerating the pace  of change. The research shows that although change is happening, we must remain vigilant and resolute in our determination to address areas where progress might be stalling or where diverse representation might have fallen behind. It is also crucially important that we continue to measure progress and impact and that is why we have created our EDI Maturity Curve which enables businesses to understand the progress they are making and the impact of their work compared to other organisations in the sector.”

Key findings from the report include:

1. Robust EDI strategies:

  • An overwhelming majority of multi-site businesses in the retail sector (93%) and HTL industry (90%) have robust and coordinated EDI strategies in place. This indicates a solid understanding of the business case for EDI and a commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment.

2. Gender parity progress, but not fast enough:

  • Progress has been made in increasing the number of women in leadership positions. However, the pace of change is not as rapid as desired.
  • Both HTL and retail industries have yet to meet the FTSE benchmark of 40% women on boards and remain far from achieving a 50/50 gender split.

3. Ethnically diverse leadership teams:

  • Leadership teams in these industries have become more ethnically diverse over time. However, the rate of change is slowing.
  • There is still a significant gap in leadership teams reflecting the communities they serve, with certain sub-sectors, such as pubs, caravan parks, and late-night venues, lacking ethnic diversity.

4. LGBTQ+ Inclusion:

  • Most companies have identified senior LGBTQ+ role models within their organizations and maintain active LGBTQ+-focused Employee Resource Groups.
  • While there is increased openness regarding sexual orientation, some employees still do not feel comfortable disclosing their identity.

5. Lack of senior disabled role models:

  • The sectors continue to lack senior leaders who openly identify as disabled. Only a small percentage of companies could identify leaders with disabilities in their top three levels.
  • Disability inclusion initiatives are in their early stages, with more focus on neurodiversity than physical disability.

6. Varied focus on age inclusion:

  • Age is not consistently a specific focus in D&I strategies, with only around 46% of HTL companies and 35% of retailers including age in their strategies.
  • Leveraging the older workforce is seen as a potential solution to labor challenges, particularly in roles with diverse shift patterns.

7. Introduction of EDI maturity curve:

  • DiR has introduced the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Maturity Curve in collaboration with Oxford Brookes Business School, offering a unique industry-backed framework to assess progress in EDI.
  • Companies can use this tool to benchmark their EDI efforts, identify gaps, and develop action plans for improvement.

For more information, access the full report here.

Diversity in Retail (DiR) is dedicated to advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the hospitality, travel, leisure, and retail sectors. DiR collaborates with businesses to develop strategies and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion. Founded by Tea Colaianni, DiR plays a pivotal role in driving meaningful change in these industries.

The Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, based at Oxford Brookes Business School, specializes in interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange on gender, diversity, and inclusion in organisations, the economy, and society. Its work encompasses a range of diversity-related areas, including gender issues, work-life balance, age discrimination, LGBT+ inclusion, social mobility, and human rights.

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