A Third of Working Brits Report Experiencing or Witnessing Bias in the Workplace, Study Finds.

In today’s corporate landscape, diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords, yet recent surveys shed light on persistent biases still prevalent in workplaces. A survey by Skillcast, an online compliance training company, revealed concerning statistics regarding bias among UK residents. Among 2,000 UK workers surveyed, a staggering 30% reported experiencing or witnessing bias during their careers.

Gender bias emerged as the most widespread form of bias, cutting across all sectors, closely followed by ageism and racial bias. Moreover, significant variances in bias prevalence were observed across different cities. Newcastle emerged with the highest rate of bias experiences or observations, with 37% of respondents indicating such occurrences, while Sheffield reported the lowest at 21%.

The research delved into bias prevalence across various sectors, revealing the finance sector as the hotspot for biased behaviour, followed closely by engineering, manufacturing, and the charity sector.

Surprisingly, senior management was identified as the primary source of biased behaviour by around 39% of respondents, followed by middle-level employees and lower-level executives. Instances of bias ranged from class-based discrimination to appearance-based bias, racial, and gender bias. Despite these disheartening findings, some respondents highlighted positive steps taken by organisations to promote equality, such as targeted promotions and accommodation of religious practices.

Impact of Bias in the Workplace Setting

Bias in the workplace can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only individual employees but also organisational culture, productivity, and overall success. At its core, bias undermines diversity and inclusion efforts, perpetuating inequalities and hindering the full potential of a diverse workforce. When employees experience bias, whether based on gender, race, age, or other factors, it erodes trust, diminishes morale, and fosters a toxic work environment where individuals feel undervalued and marginalised.

Moreover, bias can impede career advancement opportunities for affected employees, limiting their access to promotions, leadership roles, and professional development opportunities. This not only stunts individual growth but also deprives organisations of diverse perspectives and talent that are essential for innovation and problem-solving. As a result, organisations risk losing out on the competitive edge and innovation that a truly diverse and inclusive workforce can offer.

Beyond its direct impact on individuals and organisations, workplace bias can also have broader societal implications, perpetuating systemic inequalities and reinforcing societal stereotypes. By allowing bias to go unchecked, workplaces contribute to broader social injustices, further entrenching barriers to equality and opportunity for marginalised groups.

In light of these consequences, addressing bias in the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic business necessity. Organisations must proactively challenge bias through comprehensive diversity and inclusion initiatives, including bias training, transparent recruitment and promotion processes, and fostering a culture of respect and belonging for all employees. Only by confronting bias head-on can workplaces create an environment where every individual can thrive, and organisations can truly unlock the full potential of their diverse workforce.

How to Reduce Bias in the Workplace

Creating a workplace environment free from bias is essential for fostering inclusivity, promoting diversity, and ensuring equal opportunities for all employees. Here are five key strategies to reduce bias in the workplace and build a culture of respect and equality.

Implement Bias Training Programs

Provide comprehensive bias training for all employees to raise awareness about unconscious biases and their impact on decision-making processes. These programs should include interactive workshops, case studies, and discussions to help employees recognise and challenge their biases effectively.

Establish Transparent Recruitment and Promotion Processes

Implement transparent and merit-based recruitment and promotion processes that are free from bias. This includes standardising interview questions, using blind resume screening techniques, and ensuring diverse interview panels to mitigate the influence of unconscious biases.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Foster a culture of diversity and inclusion by actively promoting initiatives that celebrate differences and create a sense of belonging for all employees. This could involve creating affinity groups, organising diversity events, and incorporating inclusive language and imagery in company communications.

Encourage Open Dialogue and Feedback

Encourage open dialogue and feedback among employees to address bias effectively. Create channels for employees to report incidents of bias confidentially and provide training for managers on how to handle bias-related issues sensitively and proactively.

Lead by Example

Leadership plays a crucial role in setting the tone for inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. Leaders should lead by example by actively championing diversity initiatives, demonstrating inclusive behaviour, and holding themselves and others accountable for addressing bias effectively.

By implementing these strategies and fostering a culture of awareness, openness, and accountability, organisations can take significant steps towards reducing bias in the workplace.

How Can Wellity Support Your Team?

Check Your Blind Spot – Uncovering Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by our brain making quick decisions. As human beings we are all subject to unconscious bias in one way or another, but the more we are aware of this, the more we can mitigate it.

Objectives:

  • Explore why managing unconscious bias is crucial for developments.
  • Develop practical techniques for challenging personal bias.
  • Discover ways to contribute to a positive and inclusive work culture.

For any further information about this session, contact our team at hello@wellityglobal.com.

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