25 July 2024, 10:05
By Furniture News Mar 25, 2021

Over 50 retailers pledge to improve diversity and inclusion

Over 50 retailers have signed up to a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) charter led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and pledged to take decisive action to improve diversity practices across the industry. Businesses will focus on oversight, recruitment, progression, reporting, inclusivity and responsibility.

The charter comes at a pivotal moment, with a report launched today by the BRC, The MBS Group and PwC showing that more work is needed to create a fully diverse and equitable retail industry. The report looks closely at different areas of diversity, including gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, social mobility and age. 

The data highlights how much work is still to be done. Key findings include: 32.6% of board, 32.0% of executive boards and 37.5% of direct peports to board are women – but more than one in five retailers have no women at all on their boards, and 15% have no women on their executive committees; 69% of retailers have an all-male CEO, CFO and chair – only 9.6% of the industry’s CEOs are women, and only 4.3% of the sector’s chairs are women;

retail has very few black or ethnic minority leaders – 4.5% of boards, 5.8% of executive committees and 6.0% of direct reports to boards are from an ethnic minority background, compared to 12.5% of the UK population; 84% of retailers say that D&I is a priority, but less than half (49%) of retail employees agree that D&I is sufficiently high up their employer's agenda; 100% of D&I strategies look at gender, 90% look at race and ethnicity and 68% look at LGBTQ+ – only half look at disability, and less than a quarter cover social mobility (20%) or age (23%).

The report covers the barriers retailers face in implementing diversity, such as the lack of data and senior buy-in, and also looks at inclusion practices and measures that can adopted to take the industry forward.

Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC chief executive, says: “Retail revolves around the customer, and to serve the needs of a diverse country, we need a diversity of ideas, experiences and backgrounds across our businesses. Five years ago, the BRC set out a vision for Better Jobs and aspired for retail to be a Diversity and Inclusion leader. The data collected by PwC and The MBS Group in our Diversity and Inclusion in retail report shows there is so much more to be done if we are to reach this goal. 

“Nonetheless, I am confident about the road ahead. The first step to achieving change is acknowledgement and understanding of where the challenges lie. Now, we must act. I am proud to see so many retailers pledge to better their businesses and create equal opportunities for all and I am excited to see what the future holds once greater diversity and inclusion is achieved.”

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