Are UK Companies Cutting Diversity Roles?

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated November 6, 2023

Recent news has shown that multiple big companies in the UK are cutting diversity roles within their teams. This includes big tech firms and the NHS. Sources are stating that the NHS is cutting their diversity roles nearly in half, going from 50 to 30 in the UK. 

In Twitter HQ, the number of roles for diversity and inclusion has plummeted from 30 to just 20. Other market giants across the globe, including Amazon, Applebees, Nike and Wayfair, have been part of the diversity-axing club over the last year, cutting diversity and inclusion roles across the board. 

Overall, there seems to be a worrying trend emerging of companies cutting diversity roles. Despite the fact that the statistics for workplace discrimination, bias and harassment are still far from desirable. 

So, is this a good idea? Let’s discuss. 

Why Do We Need Diversity Roles? 

Diversity and inclusion roles are key within any workplace or company. Having specific roles where diversity and inclusion are given a great deal of time and consideration is critical, as they themselves are such critical issues. 

When a company has several people dedicated to diversity and inclusion, they have a happier and healthier staff force. They also can become a more popular and profitable workplace as their public image improves. 

Discrimination and harassment are dealt with more appropriately when there are EDI members of staff. In fact, they are less likely to occur in the first place. EDI staff can help inform other members of staff on appropriate practices in both inclusive recruitment and employment. This means that such issues are snuffed from the get-go. 

When there are specific diversity roles in a workplace, it is more likely that diverse and minority members of staff will have their voices heard. Having somewhere specific to go when you need to discuss diversity concerns with an employer is much easier when there is a diversity department or designated member of staff.

Some companies may think that they already have a good handle on diversity in the workplace. However, one should never underestimate how complex a topic diversity is. There are so many moving parts that go into establishing and maintaining an equal, diverse, and inclusive workplace. It makes complete sense that it would take dedicated diversity roles within any workplace to manage such a mammoth task. 

Companies may feel they are right to cut diversity roles, however, they will surely suffer the cost of doing so down the line. Maybe only then will the true importance of the roles become clear.

Let’s talk more specifically about what the cost of cutting such roles may be for employers and companies next.

The Cost of Cutting Diversity Roles 

There are many possible implications that come from cutting diversity roles in companies. While there may be a cost reduction for the company involved, this is really the only benefit. Every other side effect is a negative and potentially harmful one for both the company at large and individual employees. 

Cutting diversity roles can lead to:

  • A worsening of company culture, in which discrimination and harassment are rife and tolerated. People feel more comfortable engaging in discrimination as they see that their company is not prioritising diversity and safety. 
  • A spike in individual cases of discrimination, harassment, and victimisation in the workplace. 
  • Good employees leaving their posts in solidarity with those who have been cut. 
  • Employees leaving for companies that do prioritise diversity and have not cut diversity roles. 
  • Diverse members of staff feeling isolated and ignored.
  • Poor decisions being made in relation to EDI. 
  • A message going to the general public that the company in question does not prioritise diversity, leading to less diverse applications and a decrease in company popularity. 

In Conclusion

Ultimately, in our opinion, cutting diversity roles has only negative effects in store for UK companies. Yes, there may be a temporary cost reduction as salaries are cut in a time of cost crisis, however, these costs will inevitably rise again in the future when discrimination claims and exit procedures fly in instead. 

If you are an employer who wants their business and employees to flourish, it is a diversity-positive mindset you need to employ. Diversity-positive employers reap all the benefits of having a safe, happy and diverse staff force that actively works against discrimination, harassment, and any unnecessary bias or exclusion. 

You can learn more about being a diversity-positive and inclusive employer with us at Aspiring to Include. We have lots of guidance for employers on important topics such as equal pay, employee training and development, and the advantages of hiring from diverse pools. We also have tailored services for employers, which can help you adopt diversity across your business practices. 

Get involved and get all the benefits of diversity in your workplace.

Where to Find Equal, Diverse, and Inclusive Opportunities in the UK

Here at Aspiring to Include, we also have a lot of help and support available for job seekers and employees looking to change jobs. Specifically, we can help you find jobs and employers who are still prioritising diversity at work. If you want to get the benefits of working somewhere that sees equality, diversity and inclusivity as critical issues to address and support, then finding a diversity-positive employer is the only way forward.

You can use both our directory of inclusive employers and our live inclusive job board as tools to help you find such a job in your industry and role of choice. 

You can also check out our many guides and resources to help you with your search, including more about your rights and work and funding opportunities available. 

We believe in diversity and we believe in you finding the best, most diverse job possible, so let our tools help you and if you need anything else, reach out with your questions or comments to our team. 

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Last Updated: Thursday July 13 2023
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