Employees from Poorer Backgrounds in the North East Feel Excluded

Employers are not doing enough for workers from poorer backgrounds, a recent report says. Just two in five employees from poorer backgrounds in the North East feel included in the workplace, and only half feel safe to be open about their background, the research suggests.

The study by professional services company Accenture, which has a major base in the North East, found that nine out of 10 business leaders in the region felt employees from lower socioeconomic backgrounds felt included, but that was a significant mis-reading of their workforces.

Business Live is reporting that the research also found that employees in the North East from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are 50% less likely to have been promoted in the last three years when compared to their colleagues.

Allan King, North East operations lead for Accenture, said: “These findings should act as a wake-up call for the North East. Businesses across our region have a vitally important role to play in creating environments in which everyone is given an equal opportunity to excel. Overcoming these barriers will open up an enormous talent pool of untapped potential here in the North East, and the UK more widely.”

Accenture’s findings are outlined in a report called ‘A fair chance to advance: The power of culture to break socioeconomic barriers in the workplace’.

The research surveyed 4,000 employees and 1,400 senior executives across all regions in the UK to explore how workplace culture affects the retention and progression of people from poorer backgrounds.

Accenture said that more inclusive workplace cultures make employees from lower socioeconomic backgrounds both happier and more ambitious.

Efforts to improve social mobility also pay off, with companies focussing on that agenda more profitable that those who are not.

It has recommended that companies adopt five key practices that form a “blueprint for socioeconomic inclusion” – trust and responsibility; role models; anti-discrimination policies; flexibility; openness and transparency.

Accenture’s report has come as a separate study suggests that women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and young workers have been “consistently trapped” in insecure employment over the last 20 years. The Work Foundation said its study of employment contracts, personal finances and workers’ rights showed the four groups of workers suffer the most severe in-work insecurity.

Young workers are two-and-a-half times more likely to be in severely insecure work than those in the middle of their working lives, said the think tank.

Women are more likely to be in severely insecure work than men, and ethnic minority workers are more likely to be in severely insecure work than white workers, while disabled workers are more affected than non-disabled people, said the report.

Ben Harrison, director of the Work Foundation, said: “At a time of a cost-of-living crisis, those in insecure and low-paid work are among the groups at most risk.

“Wages have stagnated and, while millions more people may be in employment, the quality and security of the jobs they are in often means they are unable to make ends meet.”

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