FTSE 100 firms failing to report meaningful diversity data, CIPD study finds

Analysis finds significant figures on inclusion, wellbeing and skills investment are lacking in almost all reports from the UK’s top firms

The majority of the UK’s top listed companies are not providing meaningful data on workplace inclusion and diversity, a report from the CIPD has said.

A study of the most recent workforce reports from the FTSE 100, conducted by the CIPD in association with the High Pay Centre, has found that while the majority (93 per cent) provided data on investment in inclusion and diversity, just one in five (22 per cent) disclosed the ethnic breakdown of their workforce, while only 9 companies disclosed their ethnicity pay gap,

Similarly, just 10 per cent provided a breakdown of their workforce’s age, 5 per cent provided data on the proportion of their workforce identifying as LGBT+, and only 4 per cent revealed the number of disabled employees.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said the pandemic has made it even more important for businesses to understand workforce matters.

“We need organisations to show how they are responding to demands for more responsible, productive and sustainable businesses, and how they are investing in the workforces and cultures they need to thrive in a more uncertain and changeable future,” he said.

The CIPD urged employers to provide greater transparency over how they recruit, invest in and manage their workforce, and called on business groups and regulators to create a baseline framework for workforce reporting.

Get more HR and employment law news like this delivered straight to your inbox every day – sign up to People Management’s PM Daily newsletter

“The creation of an accepted baseline framework for workforce reporting would help organisations report how they manage and invest in their people in a clear and consistent way and improve reporting practices over time” said Cheese.

The analysis also found a similar lack of transparency when it came to reporting other aspects of workforce data.

While the vast majority (97 per cent) of FTSE 100 firms reported on skills investment and training, only 35 per cent disclosed hours of training and 16 per cent revealed training costs. 

Similarly, while nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) provided evidence of investment in leadership training, just 37 per cent revealed the number of apprenticeships and internships.

The report also found that companies “provided more narrative than concrete data” on recruitment: 63 per cent provided narrative around recruitment strategies, while 33 per cent published data relating to recruitment.

And only one in 10 (11 per cent) FTSE 100 firms published internal hire rates, which the report said was a “useful measure of in-work progression”.

Kate Carr, employment and skills campaign manager at Business in the Community, said that while employers were investing in skills and training, the lack of reporting on apprenticeships and internships suggested this was an area where employers could really “step up” in order to support diverse talent.

“The more employers who offer apprenticeships to interested jobseekers, the better, as these will be the loyal and motivated leaders of tomorrow” she said.

Jane Hickie, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), added that publishing data on levels of skills investment and workplace diversity would “build up a better picture of how many apprentices each employer has taken on”.

“AELP supports drives for transparency and would encourage all employers to publish information on levels of skills investment and workplace diversity,” she said. "However, we do know that 98% of apprenticeship levy payers – which includes the FTSE 100 companies – currently have an apprenticeship service account set-up."

Reporting on mental health was also scarce: only 13 per cent of FTSE 100 reports discussed mental health in relation to mental wellbeing. Similarly, just 14 per cent reported on employee absence rates – a useful proxy for employee mental and physical health”.

Lisa Seagroatt, founder and managing director of HR Fit for Purpose, said that wellbeing was “often overlooked” in the workplace. “Happy, healthy and engaged employees result in a healthy workplace culture” she said, adding that mental and physical health were “intrinsically linked”.

“If a poor working environment is causing employees mental health issues this can ultimately result in physical ill health” she said.