Why diversity and inclusion should be businesses’ highest priority
Diversity and inclusion has never been a bigger topic than it is today in business and in the wider world, and for very good reason. The sands are shifting within society, and as corporate communities, businesses have the power to foster systemic change and uproot entrenched prejudices. We are able to create change more quickly than individuals can.
Individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds can face barriers at work and often lack representation, especially at senior levels. Research in the UK in 2018 by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed that one in four employees from underrepresented heritage groups reported witnessing or experiencing racist harassment in the last two years, while 52% of employees from underrepresented heritage groups believe that they will have to leave their current organisation to progress in their careers, compared with 38% of white employees.
The global picture is not much better. In North America, although the number of African-Americans earning bachelor’s and graduate degrees continues to increase, the wealth gap keeps widening and career progression is not reflective of these changes. Recent research shows that just 8% of managers and 3.8% of CEOs are Black, and just 10% of U.S. businesses are owned by men and women of Black heritage. In Australia, 82% of Asian-Australians have experienced discrimination as consumers or employees, along with 81% of Australians of Middle Eastern background and 71% of Indigenous Australians.
Racism or discrimination of any kind should never be tolerated, and the urgency to close the ethnicity gap is clear.
It’s not just a case for creating a fairer workplace. Research widely denotes diverse and inclusive workplaces as synonymous with happier and more productive employees. In fact, if we had race equality across the UK labour market, forecasts suggest there would be a £24bn uplift to the economy per year; which represents 1.3% of UK GDP1. Diverse and inclusive workplaces are also associated with higher individual performance, where employees are better able to innovate and feel more engaged.
As a purpose-led organisation, we want everyone to feel welcomed and included at Mace, championing diversity and inclusion in every market, sector and geography we work in. We recognise that inclusion must come alongside diversity to enable everyone to fulfil their potential, individually and as a team. We want to create a welcoming culture across our global business, where everyone who works for Mace knows that they can bring their whole self to work, every day. It is vital to us that we grow together in a fair and inclusive way towards our goals, which are outlined in our 2026 strategy.
Although we have made strides at Mace to improve diversity and inclusion, we have much more ground to cover to ensure that we have a truly fair and reflective workplace. For this reason, Mace has become a signatory of the Change the Race Ratio, joining other global businesses in committing to helping increase Black and ethnic minority participation at senior leadership levels. Signing the charter is a step towards the targets set out within our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
Signing the charter comes with key commitments to change, which include:
- Being transparent on targets and actions. This entails publishing a clear action plan, which we did in our 2026 Strategy, and updating on progress within our Annual Report.
- Continuing to publish our ethnicity pay gap annually in alignment with our gender pay gap.
- Creating an inclusive culture in which diverse talent can thrive. This focuses on recruitment and talent development processes to drive a more diverse pipeline; data collection and analysis; fostering safe, open and transparent dialogue and challenging conventional thinking. The campaign also encourages signatories to work with a more diverse set of suppliers and partners, including minority owned businesses.
Mace has been working with the fantastic organisation, Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC) - a network for Black and ethnic minority professionals in construction and the built environment. BPIC provides inclusion guidance, career opportunities, training and networking events. These events, which are tailored to those who already work or aspire to work in our industry, are helping change perceptions about construction, which historically has struggled to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds.
We also have an EDIN (Ethnic, Diversity Inclusion Network) network, which hosts fortnightly beverage breaks; a great resource for those looking to learn more about supporting and being an ally for ethnic diversity within the company. As a Board sponsor, being involved in EDIN’s work has given me great insight and challenged my thinking, and at Mace, we encourage everyone to join one of our networks to bolster our supportive workplace and ensure all voices are being heard.
For more information on the Change the Race Ratio, please visit https://changetheraceratio.com/