Men for Inclusion Lived Experience Survey - Executive Summary
katie.robertson / 15 Aug 2023
Gary Ford, Co-Founder Men for Inclusion
The key headlines from what the survey told us
In our second blog about our Lived Experience Survey we would like share an executive summary of the key findings. As a reminder, you can download the research survey results here.
1. There is more work to do
Overall, our survey is suggesting that organisations still have a lot to do to make their places of work more inclusive.
The 3 areas where renewed focus is required are:
- Ensuring that evaluation of performance is fair – 2 in 3 people feel that it is not
- Dealing with inclusion related issues when they are raised - 67% of respondents who raised issues about workplace behaviours have been insulted or dismissed when they did
- Reducing situations where people have to provide more evidence of competency than colleagues in similar positions – more than 6 in 10 people feel they have to do this
2. There is some positive news
There are some areas where progress is being made. 3 areas with positive results include:
- 95% of respondents feel that having an inclusive workplace is important - suggesting an openness to ways of making this happen
- 73% said that they get direct and actionable feedback from their managers frequently or from time to time. In addition, this does not appear to have major differences in experiences between genders and people from different ethnic groups
- Only 15% said that they did not have access to sponsorship to make it to a senior role. Again, there were limited differences between genders for this question, although that is not true for those from an ethnic minority group who feel that opportunities to access senior leaders are still an issue.
3. Inclusion challenges exist across all demographics
However, there are variations in experience across different demographics so employers need to make sure that they are making progress on all areas that are highlighted within this research. Exclusion at some level is experienced by all demographics represented by this survey.
4. There is no one single issue that is causing lack of inclusion and hence, no single silver bullet to resolve
We also asked people to look at how 11 key issues in the workplace might have impacted their career by rating their impact on a 1 – 10 scale (where 1 is not at all and 10 is significantly).
Of the 11 criteria, the rating was in a very narrow band whereby 9 of the 11 issues had an average rating of between 4 and 6. This suggests lack of career progress is impacted by multiple factors with no single factor being a dominant blocker to career progress.
This ties back to the need for employees to tackle exclusion on many fronts, with no single solution resolving all of the areas where improvement is needed.
5. The female experience remains worse than their male colleagues
Of the 20 quantitative questions we asked, 17 were answered more negatively by women than men, 2 showed a small difference between the genders (< 6%) and only 1 suggested a worse experience for men than women. Of the 17, 8 had a percentile difference between men and women of more than 20% and 16 had a difference of more than 10%.
This confirms there remains significant work for organisations to improve the culture, behaviours and values in the work environment so that women are treated, and are seen to be treated, in a more fair and equitable manner. This ranges from how work is allocated, how effective performance is measured and evaluated and how that evaluation feeds into rewards and recognition, including promotion and career progression
6. Experiences are worse for those from a minority ethnic background
Of the 20 quantitative questions, those from minority ethnic groups answered more negatively to 14 of the questions, with 1 question answered more negatively by the majority ethnic group and the other 5 having relatively small differences. Of the 14, 2 had a greater than 20% differential between the groups and another 4 with a greater than 15% differential.
Given that most of the people identifying with a minority ethnic group also identified as female, these answers do seem to confirm previous research that women in this group experience the “double whammy” of being both a woman and from a minority ethnic group.
One stark difference is that the female v male results suggest limited impact of social networks on the employee experience, but when it comes to ethnicity, this becomes a key factor.
7. The white male backlash is real and needs to be dealt with thoughtfully
20% of men in our survey answered “Yes” to the question about whether there is positive discrimination happening in the promotion process within their organisations, versus only 8% of women.
In addition, 40% of women reported that a colleague had suggested they owe their success to a particular personal characteristic (gender, race, etc) or had seen it happen to others. By contrast, only 21% of men have had the same experience.
This data begins to show just how complex tackling equality in the workplace is and how thoughtful organisations must be in their approach to dealing with it. Changes to create better equality of opportunity and improve proportional representation in the demographic of their senior ranks must be accompanied by a clear communication strategy and ensure opportunities are not removed from those that have had better representation at senior levels in the past.
8. An Inclusive workplace remains a bigger challenge for Financial Services
Our results suggest that the Financial Services (FS) sector has more work to do on Inclusion than others - the sector scores worse on all 20 of the quantitative questions versus the rest of the sectors represented within the research sample with nearly half of the questions being more than 10% negative for FS.
These results are a wake-up call for the sector. It is clear that it has been focused on the subject of Diversity and Inclusion for some years, but progress is slow. Typically, FS organisations are large and global, which means efforts in this field take continued efforts and no small amount of resilience to be successful. Cultural nuances in different locations also mean programmes to improve in this area need to be continuously assessed and revised.
9. Access to senior leadership and inclusive social interactions are improving
One key positive change from previous research seems to be around access to social networks and senior sponsorship. Men for Inclusion qualitative research often finds comments that suggest there is an “Old Boys Network” in operation with companies. This survey found limited examples of that from a gender perspective, with both men and women giving very similar answers to the questions of “Do you feel that you have the right access to sponsorship to make it to a senior role?” and “Do you feel that your workplace has informal and formal social networks which are difficult for you to break into?”.
10. The longer you work at a company, the more excluded you feel
Another surprising finding with the research is that people of all levels and ages who have recently joined a company (0 - 2 year tenure) have a significantly different experience to those that have been there for a reasonably lengthy period of time (16 years +). We will refer to these groups as “New-starters” and “Veterans”.
The experience of the veterans was markedly worse than the new starters, with more negative scores for virtually every question of which 13 showed a difference of greater than 20%.
Of the people who responded to the tenure question, the new-starters were made up of a range of people for different lengths of career, from those who had just entered the workplace to those that have been working more than 20 years in total. In fact, this latter group are the largest constituents of the new-starter demographic.
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