The Importance of Making Post-Pandemic Workplaces More Diverse

November 16, 2022

Now that furlough is well and truly behind us, a lot of jobs within a variety of industries are being generated. However, there is concern as to whether or not there are enough employees to actually fill these roles. With companies attempting to solve this staffing shortage and successfully recruit someone for every position, opportunities and obstacles for boosting diversity in the workforce have emerged.

The Impact of Staff Shortages in the UK

According to the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE), the number of people in the UK who were born elsewhere has decreased by 1.3 million since the immigration rules changed post-Brexit. This highlights that a significant number of talented workers have left the UK to work overseas, leaving businesses struggling to find people to fill the roles.

As a result of so many people leaving the UK, many companies have struggled with staff and labour shortages. Industries that depend on foreign labour - such as hospitality, haulage and construction - are now faced with a lack of workers, and a pool of people to hire from that is considerably less diverse than before. With changing immigration rules sending people away from the UK and the pandemic harshly affecting ethnic minority groups, businesses are likely to struggle to build a workforce that is diverse.

Why Diversity is Key in UK Workplaces

According to a McKinsey report from 2019, businesses in the top quarter for having a diverse executive team in terms of gender are 25% more likely to achieve above average profits than those in the bottom quarter. In 2019, it was also highlighted that businesses in the top quarter for ethnic diversity amongst their executive team were 36% more likely to have higher than average profits, compared to those in the bottom quarter. Plus, an article published by the Harvard Business Review suggests that businesses with a diverse staff had a 70% higher chance of grabbing a new market.

These figures highlight the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on the success and profitability of a business. This is why a number of investors are putting pressure on businesses to show their commitment to diversity, something which staff shortages are making more difficult.

Solving The Problem

In order to fill workplace positions, a lot of businesses will have to further train their existing workforce or hire from elsewhere. This is helped slightly by the points based immigration system currently in place in the UK, which prioritises applicants with specific skills and abilities. These individuals are given employment opportunities that will result in permanent residency, which could entice people back to working in the UK. There is also a global talent path for those with outstanding skill or promise within a particular field.

However, this is unlikely to be enough to make up for the staff shortages and hiring from outside the UK can be challenging. Therefore, businesses must come up with a way to find and recruit those within the home market. In order to do this, they will need to offer a number of incentives to ensure they are attracting the top talent. This could include flexible working locations and working hours. If businesses want to hire an impressive mix of talent and diversity in their workplace, they need to reach a wider pool of candidates.