Audeliss Insights Roundup: December 2022

Audeliss brings you the latest insights and trends surrounding executive search and diversity, equity, and inclusion in business across the world every month.

In DEI news, a recent survey by the WTW found that despite UK companies finding employee wellbeing important, 70 percent confess that they have spent less on these benefits than in previous years. 3 in 10 employers do believe that the current economic situation is having an effect on wellbeing though, and more companies are intending on tackling this through expanding their healthcare coverage (68%) and ensuring their benefits address the issues that a diverse workforce face, such as neurodiversity, menopause, and gender transition (67%).

As the cost-of-living crisis starts to affect everyday life, KPMG released their Social Mobility Progression Report 2022 that analyzes the impact socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability have in career progression. Over the course of five years, the research analyzed the career paths of 16,500 employees and partners at KPMG and found that individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds “took on average 19% longer to progress through grades compared to those from higher socio-economic backgrounds”. Out of the five diversity characteristics, those who have a disability would take 1 percent longer to progress, while those who identified as women and those from an ethnic minority background would progress 2 percent and 12 percent faster, respectively.

Businesses could greatly benefit from DEI strategies in order to evaluate and eradicate these discrepancies, however research by CIPD found that almost half of companies don’t have a diversity and inclusion strategy, and a quarter said that their DEI activities are entirely reactive. Most shockingly, over a third of organizations are not intending to focus on any specific DEI areas and 5 percent of businesses said they haven’t focused on it in the past five years.

There is a plethora of studies that prove that organizations who focus on DEI are more profitable. The newest research to back this up is the Infosys ESG Radar 2023 report. 90 percent of respondents said that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives show moderate to significant positive returns. This increases when there is a Chief Diversity Officer and diversity on boards; a 10-percentage point increase in women on board, for example, correlates with 1-percentage point increase in profit growth.

In executive search news, a Bill to regulate the use of minimum qualification requirements in job applications in the UK is going through a second reading at the House of Commons. The Employment (Applications Requirements) Bill was introduced in June 2021 and this second reading will ensure that all candidates have a fair chance when applying for jobs by requiring that companies prove that any work experience or qualification is essential to do the job. This will also protect candidates and employees from being discriminated against or passed up for promotion.

Also in new legislative news, flexible working has become so important to worker’s wellbeing that the UK Government is putting a new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill through to parliament that will allow employees the right to request work flexibility from the first day of employment, giving them more freedom to dictate how and where they can work from the get-go. There has been some criticism of it by James Dyson, founder of tech firm Dyson, who said that the uncertainty of when employees are working and the lack of “control” organizations will have over them can greatly hinder investors.

In the U.S., sentiment is also geared towards flexible working. A survey from the Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found that 82 percent of hiring managers from companies that were working remotely during the pandemic will continue to allow staff to continue doing so. The survey also found that 59 percent of businesses believed that remote work had a positive impact on the company as a whole. Organizations are hoping that this will retain current employees and attract new ones.

And finally, in the October edition of our insights roundup, we talked about how New York City is intending on restricting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) during the recruitment process to eradicate bias in the algorithm. These restrictions required organizations to audit any automated tools used in the decision-making process of hiring and promoting employees, and they must notify those affected up to 10 business days before it’s used. This month, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced that they will be postponing the enforcement of the new law until April 15 as they are now planning a second public hearing due to the high volume of public comments.