The D&I Charter is one of the BRC’s change programmes. Set up in 2021 by the HR Community, the charter it focuses on oversight, recruitment, progression, reporting, inclusivity and responsibility. 84 companies have already joined as they challenge culture and biases, embedding D&I into every aspect of their business.
The Charter was launched alongside the first Diversity and Inclusion in UK Retail report, and as a response to the urgent need for the retail industry to move the dial when it comes to D&I.
THIRD YEAR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN UK RETAIL REPORT
In June 2023, the BRC and the MBS group published the 3rd annual ‘Diversity and Inclusion in UK Retail’ report, providing unique insight into the current state of D&I in the UK retail industry. Based on over 200 interviews with Chairs, CEOs and HRDs, on hard data provided by 48 retailers involved in the D&I Charter change program and, to bring back the employee voice, this year the report also covers the Employee Inclusion Index, an assessment of inclusion developed using the Retail Trust’s Better You tool. The research builds on the progress of the 2022 and 2021 reports and learnings in the D&I Charter activities.
Positively, the survey sample of this year’s report covers about 40% of the retail workers’ population, and we are grateful for the efforts of the signatories who submitted their data. This represents a clear commitment from the retail industry and the collaboration and dedication of signatories to the initiative are extremely appreciated and a driver of change.
This year’s research reveals that 93% of retailers have implemented a strategy to improve diversity and inclusion across their business, and many have expanded these plans in order to focus on areas such as social mobility and disability. However, there is still a “long road ahead” with 66% of retailers having no specific targets in place to track progress on D&I. Almost 30% of boardrooms remain all white, and gender diversity on leadership teams is still below the FTSE 350 benchmark of 40% (37.8%). The industry also lacks disabled role models, with only 17% of retailers able to identify one disabled leader in their organisation.
Other key statistics of the report include:
- Ethnic diversity Board representation has improved by 5 percentage points to 10% since 2021 but 30% of retail Boards remain all-white (4% are all-white in FTSE 100)
- Gender diversity Board representation has improved by over 5 percentage points since 2021 to 37.8%. However, this still remains well below an equal gender split
- 80% of retailers are focusing on disability in their D&I strategies compared to 50% in 2021
- More individuals are comfortable to identify as trans, non-binary and gender fluid in the workplace
- 65% of businesses now include social mobility in their D&I strategies, compared to 20% in 2021
- 64% of businesses could identify at least one senior leader from the LGBTQ+ community, compared with 47% in 2022 and 27% in 2021
The report also analyses where the barriers lie in improving D&I. Issues cited include lack of data, insufficient resources, and the potential backlash from some employees. The report identifies best practices and measures that have been successfully adopted so far which will help take the industry forward, such as employee resource groups, action plans, appointed D&I leaders, and training investment.
Many of these findings are addressed in the D&I Charter workshops, providing practical support to retailers as they look to shift the dial in their organisations. Now is the time for retailers to move from introducing activities to assessing their impact and focusing on those that drive tangible outcomes. While a clear strategy is vital, it is just the first step in shifting the dial on D&I. Retailers must constantly reflect on and adapt the strategies they put in place to ensure maximum impact on this crucial issue.
D&I CHARTER PLEDGES AND ACTIVITIES
Signatories have access to a strong program of regular workshops and in-person events delivered in partnership with the RPC LLP, to help signatories to progress with their D&I strategies. Each of these workshops relate to the charter pledges and/or specific emerging challenges:
- Our CEO will be accountable for Diversity and Inclusion in our business and will appoint an Executive with ownership for D&I
- We will ensure there is no bias in the recruitment process and will Undertake a transparent process of audit
- We will take positive action that supports open career opportunity and progression and will undertake a transparent process of audit
- We commit to contributing data on our diversity in the workplace which will feed in to the BRC Better Jobs dashboard
- We commit to create a respectful, inclusive work environment within which every employee has the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the company’s vision and values
- We believe supporting equity in the workplace is the responsibility of all line managers
Members of all sizes and in any stages of their D&I journey are invited to join – the idea is that we build a community to learn, share and progress together. The charter is a free benefit for BRC members.
Contact Luiza (email@example.com) to get involved.