A paper published by the Institute of Directors (IoD) includes a series of recommendations on creating inclusive workspaces.
Targets on the representation of LGBT and disabled individuals on, boards, the right to request flexible working from day one in employment, and new guidance on inclusive recruitment are among the recommendations in a new paper calling for better employment practise across Britain.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has published a policy paper on ‘The Future of Business: harnessing diverse talent for success’ including a series of recommendations for the UK Government on creating inclusive workspaces.
The commission, led by Lord Shinkwin, found a significant need for more data on ethnicity pay gaps and disability in the workforce across Scotland and the UK.
The paper calls for the introduction of mandatory ethnicity pay gap and disability workforce reporting for companies with 250 or more employees.
This will be an important step in tackling the Scottish disability pay gap and enabling effective mitigating action to be taken.
The most recent statistics published in April 2022 by the Office of National Statistics show Scotland has the biggest disability pay gap in the UK, with an average 18.5% lower pay for those with disabilities.
The Commission, which spent seven months investigating diversity and equality, was made up of 12 experts from business, third sector and policy, including Theresa Shearer, CEO of ENABLE (Scotland's largest charity for people with learning disabilities).
Theresa Shearer FRSE, one of the commissioners, and CEO of ENABLE, said: “When an increasing number of organisations want to meet best practice standards on equity, diversity and inclusion, the Shinkwin commission maps out an opportunity to make a whole host of positive changes to Scottish workplaces.
“The responsibility of leaders is to ensure it happens, and to do that we need data. In all types of business, if it matters, we count it. Collecting and publishing data is the first step to truly making a difference.
“At the moment, some of the more nuanced equity, diversity and inclusion measures in Scotland, such as recruitment, retention and progression of disabled employees or ethnicity pay gaps, are a bit of an unknown.
“Without recognising the scale or prevalence of the issues we face, advocating for change at a national level is highly challenging.
“From recruitment to workplace culture to flexible working, these recommendations signpost a strong first step to achieving change – but now we need policy makers to take action.”
The paper cites research which shows organisations in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity are 36% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile, and made recommendations with specific reference to disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
As well as ethnicity pay gap reporting, the paper calls for up-to-date guidance for businesses – tailored to businesses of different sizes and including how to implement fair AI systems for recruitment – on inclusive recruitment.
The introduction of a public reporting process and targets on the representation of LGBT and disabled individuals on the boards of FTSE 350 companies, was also suggested, alongside giving employees the right to request flexible working from day one of employment.
Catherine McWilliam, national director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, said: “Scottish Leaders are ready and willing to take action on diversity and inclusion, but the recurring concern I hear from members is the challenge of implementing change.
“The Shinkwin Commission has provided a series of recommendations and practical steps for government and business, which is a big step in the right direction in overcoming the challenge. By gathering data on the Scottish workforce, cross sector leaders will have the tools they need to make effective changes to mitigate the diversity and inclusion gap.”