Accountancy and finance organisations were impacted hard by Covid-19. ‘Business as usual’ took a back seat as organisations handled the immediate impacts of the pandemic and huge numbers of professionals switched to working remotely practically overnight. Priorities shifted, and areas of focus, like equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I), could easily take a back seat.
Months on from our first lockdown, we have started to gauge the impact of the crisis on things like ED&I – which we have explored in our new Hays Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2020 report.
We found that over three quarters (71%) of those in accountancy & finance said that when looking for a new role, an organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies are important to them. Furthermore, nearly two thirds (63%) said they would only apply to an organisation which has a public commitment to ED&I. To professionals, the importance of ensuring diversity was never lost, and while employers immediate focus may be shifting, they can’t lose sight of the importance of ED&I to talent attraction.
68% also said their company should have a position on topical D&I issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, proving that even now, it is expected for employers to have a clear stance on key issues which speaks to their company values. To fail to do so risks alienate key talent at a challenging time.
Our Hays Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2020 report also explores flexible working and how it relates to ED&I, as this has taken on whole new meaning in today’s climate. The rapid uptake of flexible and remote working practices has had an impact and now almost three quarters (71%) of those working in finance are working flexibly and encouragingly, 87% of professionals agreed that access to flexible working practices can help their organisation gain access to a more diverse talent pool.
However, respondents noted drawbacks that this flexibility has, such as feelings of isolation and blurred boundaries between their work and home lives. Furthermore, over a third (37%) believe that working flexibly can limit career progression.
In order to not let ED&I take a back seat to today’s other challenges, here are three key recommendations for employers
Responsibility doesn’t stop with employers however, all professionals need to play their part in creating a more equal and inclusive workplace. Here are our recommendations for how employees can help keep their organisation’s ED&I agendas on track.
It’s only by working as a whole and keeping ED&I commitments front of mind will employers and employees create a working culture that welcomes and celebrates diversity, opening the door to many highly skilled professionals who can help get your organisation through this significant period of change.
For further insights into how flexible working can help facilitate equality in the workplace, request your copy of the Hays Equality, Diversity & Inclusion 2020 Report.
Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.
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In our latest Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Report, we explore whether flexible working can help create more diverse workforces and more inclusive workplaces.
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