- Over half (55%) of all UK SMEs say they have a diverse workforce;
- Over one in three (36%) small businesses also state that improving diversity is a priority over the next 12 months;
- However, a quarter (24%) of small businesses say they have no intention of becoming a more diverse company.
The Aldermore SME Future Attitudes report reveals today that over half (55%) of all UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - representing over 3 million* firms in the UK with under 250 employees - said they have a diverse workforce, with a further third (36%) stating that improving diversity in the workplace is a focus over the next 12 months.
The report, which surveyed over a thousand senior business decision-makers across the UK, found that there are a number of reasons they would describe their organisation as diverse. This includes an employee base with a wide age range (53%), an ethnically diverse make up (48%) and a good female to male ratio (44%). Over two fifths (41%) also have female employees at a senior level and more than a third declared they were open to making adjustments for disabled employees and ensured an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees (36% and 35% respectively).
Moreover, nearly two fifths (37%) of UK SMEs admit to being much more likely to do business with a supplier, partner or provider that is well known for its inclusive employment strategies.
Despite this positive picture, a quarter (26%) of small and medium sized businesses say they have no intention of becoming more diverse over the next year and a further 22% said that increasing diversity was a low priority for them. This could be because their workforce is too small to be considered diverse (56%), but, at the same time, some SME leaders also confessed that they were also more likely to employ someone that is similar to their existing workforce (24%), that candidates in their sector tended not to come from a diverse range of backgrounds (19%), and that they tended not to attract a diverse range of potential employees (17%).
Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore, said: “It is heartening that so many UK small and medium-sized business owners describe their workforce as diverse. However you define diversity, be it by age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, promoting a diverse workforce should be a key consideration within any business, since employees from a range of backgrounds can offer different experiences to help drive the success of progressive businesses. “
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Notes to Editors:
Research conducted by Opinium Research between 28th April and 8th May 2017 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,003 senior decision makers in SMEs.
* 3.02m SMEs figure – calculated using Federation of Small Business statistics that say the UK has 5.5m SMEs (2016 figures). Aldermore Future Attitudes research showed that 55% of SMEs would describe their workforce as diverse. 55% of 5.5m = 3.02m
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