Just How Diverse is the UK Business Environment?

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Solent University- TSR Talks
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#1
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Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
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Walscar
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business? What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business? As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
Hi Zahida - diversity is important and having a range of voices not simply the views from one group is helpful and makes business more representative and gives us better solutions. Diversity is not quite the same as inclusivity but I think both are important. What is important for me is that I can be who I am at work and accepted for the whole person I am and the skills and talents that I can bring. I don't think we should have to hide or 'disguise' who we are to fit in with business or society. I am conscious we need to be empathetic of alternative viewpoints (whether perceived as radical or traditional and all points in between) - I think we can celebrate who we are and that we are different whilst having lots in common and common goals...
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by Walscar)
Hi Zahida - diversity is important and having a range of voices not simply the views from one group is helpful and makes business more representative and gives us better solutions. Diversity is not quite the same as inclusivity but I think both are important. What is important for me is that I can be who I am at work and accepted for the whole person I am and the skills and talents that I can bring. I don't think we should have to hide or 'disguise' who we are to fit in with business or society. I am conscious we need to be empathetic of alternative viewpoints (whether perceived as radical or traditional and all points in between) - I think we can celebrate who we are and that we are different whilst having lots in common and common goals...
Walscar Thanks for your response.... i totally agree with you about the concepts of diversity and inclusion. At Solent University we value diversity in all it's forms, and we recognise that whilst there are differences amongst people in business and society, there are huge commonalities. As a student, can you think of some commonalities and differences between yourself and your peers? What will you find?
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
Having worked in several very successful teams, part of the success was due to the fact that we all had different backgrounds and we learnt so much from each other - not just about working but also our different cultures; this made us much stronger as a team. Many organisations have diversity and inclusivity champions and this assists open discussions. In addition, students are discussing this in education settings, both of which are positive. Hopefully this will mean that in the future this will just be recognised as the norm without needing to actively champion it.
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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#5
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
An area which is not often included is neurodiversity or cognitive diversity and I am glad that both business and education institutions now understand the importance of embracing this. Neurodiversity enables innovations and different approaches which is a positive. Hoping that this continues onwards. Education needs to embrace this as well, ensuring that curriculum is inclusive and accessible for all.
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Maple_Leaf
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
I think a lot of companies have announced initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion particularly following recent protests and social unrest. However, women and ethnic minorities remain seriously underrepresented in many industries, in large corporations as well as in small businesses. Do you think companies really understand enough about the importance of diversity of their workforce and how to harvest this, or it is purely an external expression to fit in with what they know people want to hear? How can we ensure their claims translate to real change?
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Maple_Leaf
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
An area which is not often included is neurodiversity or cognitive diversity and I am glad that both business and education institutions now understand the importance of embracing this. Neurodiversity enables innovations and different approaches which is a positive. Hoping that this continues onwards. Education needs to embrace this as well, ensuring that curriculum is inclusive and accessible for all.
This is a really important point- a few companies have started Neurodiversity recruitment programs which is great. We still likely have a long way to go though in terms of making necessary adjustments for interviews and meetings etc. in many companies. I guess sometimes a lack of awareness leads to unconscious discrimination, so increasing awareness among hiring managers and other employees in the business could be an important factor in increasing and embracing diversity?
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04MR17
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?

As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?
Same way it's taken centuries for us to start looking at other human beings as equal to ourselves. Entrenched attitudes and (sub)conscious prejudice.

I'm going to be controversial and say I'm not sure a particular generation of "millennials" will necessarily have an impact. I think it's just the business world being a tad slower than other parts of society. There are still many areas of the UK (and many professions) where diversity is an issue (e.g. teaching). I think we will see change during the expected time period but it shouldn't be attributed to millennials as this is oversimplistic.

I also think we need to appreciate the dynamic nature of this growing diversity depending on the industry. Businesses and industries requiring physical labour cannot realistically be expected to employ proportionally as many people with mobility/movement disabilities as other industries. We should try to use too big a net when discussing this I feel.
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RedGiant
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment.
So what tangible, measurable things do you want to be done about it then? Lots of words, not anything being suggested.
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Talkative Toad
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The business environment should be filled with the best and most suitable people to do the job, regardless of background.
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
An area which is not often included is neurodiversity or cognitive diversity and I am glad that both business and education institutions now understand the importance of embracing this. Neurodiversity enables innovations and different approaches which is a positive. Hoping that this continues onwards. Education needs to embrace this as well, ensuring that curriculum is inclusive and accessible for all.
Very good point. Thank you for raising this. Would be good to hear your experiences of 'hidden difference'; whether this relates to yourself or those you know, or even your views on an 'inclusive and accessible curriculum'.
What do you think an inclusive curriculum should look like?
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greatreplacment
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Diverse = not White

Before mass immigration and open borders, Europe had diversity since it's a continent made up of many peoples. As is Africa,the most diverse continent on the planet thats nearly entirely Black.
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Solent University, Southampton
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
Hi, I am Isaac a student rep for Solent University, I am also currently studying Marketing with Advertising.

Before university I had jobs in different sectors, predominantly working in hospitality gave me an insight into how it worked. I believe the hospitality trade is taking steps towards diversity, witnessing this with my own eyes is great, but more can be done for sure.

Isaac
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Having worked in several very successful teams, part of the success was due to the fact that we all had different backgrounds and we learnt so much from each other - not just about working but also our different cultures; this made us much stronger as a team. Many organisations have diversity and inclusivity champions and this assists open discussions. In addition, students are discussing this in education settings, both of which are positive. Hopefully this will mean that in the future this will just be recognised as the norm without needing to actively champion it.
Agree that diversity in the workplace can bring a variety of perspectives which is positive. In education, and particularly at Solent Uni, we have a variety of students from many parts of the world. As a lecturer this is positive, as I too learn about international business practises and educational processes. As a student, think of one thing you have learned from students from a different background to yours? How did this impact on you?
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by greatreplacment)
Diverse = not White

Before mass immigration and open borders, Europe had diversity since it's a continent made up of many peoples. As is Africa,the most diverse continent on the planet thats nearly entirely Black.
Interesting view of diversity. Is diversity purely about ethnicity?
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by Solent University, Southampton)
Hi, I am Isaac a student rep for Solent University, I am also currently studying Marketing with Advertising.

Before university I had jobs in different sectors, predominantly working in hospitality gave me an insight into how it worked. I believe the hospitality trade is taking steps towards diversity, witnessing this with my own eyes is great, but more can be done for sure.

Isaac
Hi Isaac, thank you for your insights within the hospitality sector. In particular this sector has been hit hardest in terms of Brexit and Covid. Have you noticed any difference in staff make up since Brexit?
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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(Original post by RedGiant)
So what tangible, measurable things do you want to be done about it then? Lots of words, not anything being suggested.
Warning! lots of words ahead:
A couple of areas I have worked in have provided insights and outcomes for particular marginal groups; research identified that supporting women into business would bridge the productivity gap in the West Midlands (Regional Economic Strategy, 2008). Interventions were put in place to increase women owned businesses in the Region: amongst the outcomes; increased accredited female business advisors; increase in women's business networks; supplier diversity and supply chains; economic contribution of women owned businesses, documented by the Royal Bank of Scotland: 'Women-led businesses contributed £3.51bn to the UK economy and created 77,000 jobs in 2015, according to a new study by Royal Bank of Scotland. ... The research also showed that in Scotland, women-led businesses contributed £268m to the economy in 2015' (RBS, 2017)
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Solent University- TSR Talks
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#18
(Original post by Talkative Toad)
The business environment should be filled with the best and most suitable people to do the job, regardless of background.
True, and there are many 'suitable' people from all of backgrounds, therefore I don't believe it's a choice of diversity over experience/suitablity for a job
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Solent University, Southampton
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Hi Isaac, thank you for your insights within the hospitality sector. In particular this sector has been hit hardest in terms of Brexit and Covid. Have you noticed any difference in staff make up since Brexit?
Hi, lots of my hospitality work was before trade agreements and other things were finalised so I probably have not got the best insights on it but I will try my best. I understand some workers had to leave due to the changing of laws, this did not massively change the way my work establishments approached day to day operations. I would put this down to a lot of people still looking for hospitality roles. In hospitality it is a quick turn around on getting new staff in, as soon as people can start, they were doing shifts this meant there was a slight change in the staff rosters but did not cause any problems.

Hope this answers your question!

Isaac
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Solent University, Southampton
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#20
(Original post by Solent University- TSR Talks)
Groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship include ethnic minorities, women, people who identify as having disabilities, migrants, and those with low educational attainment. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of a lack of diversity in many business environments, but how committed to changing this are we? What do you think the business environment should look like?

Diversity in the workplace is a benefit to both the business, their employees and society. Blending of cultures and experiences leads to the opportunity for challenging our views, innovation, creativity, and profitability.

So why has it taken us so long to realise the value and importance of increasing diversity in business?
What are the barriers impacting on start-up and growth of diverse business?
As millennials make up more of the workforce, will this lead to greater diversity in the workplace?

We'll be online throughout this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Spoiler:
Show
Hi, I'm Zahida and I am currently senior lecturer in business and course leader of the business foundation year at Solent University.

I have spent 10 years in the women’s enterprise arena, providing business support directly to women, minority ethnic groups, ex offenders, job seekers and young people. I also taught accredited and non-accredited business courses to these groups on the practical elements of business start up and worked with young people to help them consider different and alternative types of employment.
Hi Zahida, just a quick question, being a student that you taught in my foundation year I really enjoyed the sessions that generated discussions with the whole class, this was because you could learn and understand different standpoints on areas in the business world. Do you think the pandemic has given people the opportunity to express theirselves/ not hold anything back within businesses? An example that sticks out in my mind is being on teams or zoom calls from home, people can see little things that are a part of someones home life. Some people may not share these things in face to face meetings but now people have had to adapt to working from home and expressing theirselves in different ways.

Hope you are well!
Isaac
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