Just 36% of UK professionals believe their leaders fully understand the relationship between diversity and inclusion and profitability, a recent study has found.

In their 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Report, Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people, found that only 34% of employees believe their organisation’s leaders are role models for diversity and inclusion, who challenge traditional viewpoints and established ways of working.

The survey found 57% of the 9,000 respondents say there have been occasions when their career progression has been limited due to their background, of whom 50% say it was due to age, 41% gender, 40% their ethnicity, 11% disability and 8% sexual orientation.

Though, 63% of respondents did say diversity and inclusion is being celebrated at an organisational level and nearly two-thirds (63%) of survey respondents state that diversity and inclusion is promoted in their organisation’s staff communications. 66% of survey respondents say their organisation captures diversity data at the recruitment stage only 43% say their organisation uses this data to determine the effectiveness of related policies, and only 38% believe it is used to inform career development programmes.

Only 41% of respondents say they work in a culture that encourages debate and diversity of thought, and just 43% think their voice is heard and respected.

Speaking on their findings, Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Hays said:

“The fact that the majority of employees believe that some form of unconscious bias exists amongst their leaders, shows that despite the progress being made on diversity and inclusion by many organisations, leaders have some way to go to convince their employees that they truly understand and value the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Diversity in the workplace has become a leading topic in the professional work, and despite vast changes these findings reveal that there is still much to do in ensure employees feel they’ll be represented.