The Good, the Bad…and the Equity


Great strides have been made within UK organisations with respect to diversity.  Yet full inclusion remains far off as without equity there isn’t a true sense of belonging.  True equity means that there is no need for Inclusive Companies to be doing its work and to be publishing its IT50 List: that goal remains over the horizon on a journey which has seen much ground covered.

As Paul Sesay, CEO of Inclusive Companies, says, ‘There is plenty to celebrate in our findings but still a huge amount which needs to be done for our organisations to be truly inclusive.’

The Good

Even more organisations choosing to take part

The seventh annual IT50 List ( has been compiled, by a panel of experts, and it attracted the largest ever number of organisations submitting their data.  As such, the findings represent over 750,00 people within the UK workforce.  Entrants are from the public (36.21%) and private (53.45%) sectors as well as including education (1.72%), housing (1.72%) and charity (6.90%) organisations.  ‘It means the findings really do reflect what is going on in UK workplaces,’ adds Sesay.

The Best Practice

‘Whilst placing in the top 50 is great for an organisation, it is clear that the entrants want to learn if what they are doing is good, how it could be better and what more they can learn.’

West Midlands Fire Service, the second largest fire service in the UK, topped the list.  It also serves one of the most diverse communities in the UK.  The report details the very many and varied ways in which it has sought to be truly diverse and inclusive in its recruitment processes and in its day-to-day culture.  Of particular note is its policy to use Section 159 of The Equality Act in its senior appointments process.

What is evident is that, in current times of adversity, when external pressures could so easily divide a workforce, the best organisations understand the ED&I agenda is more important than ever.  By educating and supporting everyone within the organisation they bring everyone together.

The Bad

But, as Sesay says, ‘We are under no illusion that any one organisation, however hard they are trying, is fully inclusive.’

Don’t Get Old

Of the many protected groups, age, by the very fact that it will impact on the great majority of us, was the area which attracted least attention and support.  Of the great many workforce networks which actively seek to include people, the report reveals that only 41.38% of organisations has age related networks.  This is 21% lower than the figure for the next highlighted protected group and, even more worryingly, represents a fall of almost 4% on the 2021 figure.  At the very time that the government is pleading for early retirees to return to the workplace, the workplace would appear to be overlooking them.

A Woman’s Place is…

Whilst there are some welcome figures which show a slight increase in female representation in Middle and Senior Management and at Executive Board level, top positions remain far more of a male preserve.  More disturbingly, there is only 39.66% of organisations which have 50+% of the workforce as female, a fall of almost 10% on the 2021 finding!  Whilst new and different organisations submitted data for 2022, allied to the fact that there is a slight increase in female representation in management positions, may slightly distort this figure, the overall trend cannot be dismissed.

The Gaps in Pay

The recent report by the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the Ethnicity Pay Gap remains a voluntary publication for organisations.  The government endorsed this finding in March 2022. Only the publication of the Gender Pay Gap remains a legal requirement.  The IT50 data did include requests for figures on all protected groups’ Pay Gaps.  Whilst heartening that there was an increase of almost 30% in organisations reporting the Ethnicity Pay Gap, the overall figure was still below 60% of all submissions.  Only 10.34% of organisations are reporting on other protected groups’ Pay Gaps, a lower figure than in 2021  This comes at a time when the Office for National Statistics revealed that the gap between median pay for disabled and non-disabled employees in 2021 was 13.8%!

And the Equity

It’s the Sense of Belonging

Employing people from diverse backgrounds is that first step; without inclusion an organisation is merely paying lip service to equality within its workplace.  ‘It is about ensuring that each individual is welcomed, valued and integrated into the workplace,’ Sesay concludes.  ‘Our work in 2023 is focusing upon equity.  Organisations which capture this sense of belonging will not only better support their employees; they will also drive sustainable business performance.’


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