Diversity, inclusion regarded as key factors for job candidates choosing next employers

But employers could be doing more to improve EDI strategies: survey

Diversity, inclusion regarded as key factors for job candidates choosing next employers

Nearly three in four finance professionals worldwide consider diversity and inclusion as major factors in choosing their next employer, according to a new survey from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

The survey, which polled a total of 9,889 finance professionals, found that 73% believe a strong diversity and inclusivity culture would be a key factor in deciding to work at an organisation.

"The survey suggests equity, diversity, and inclusivity practices (EDI) are important as a key part of the employee proposition, playing a big role in the perceived attractiveness of an organisation to employees, as well as wanting to stay," the ACCA report read.

Opportunity for employers

According to the report, 58% of finance professionals agree that their organisations are inclusive, where all employees are equally valued.

But there are some who said that their employers could do more when it comes to their EDI practices, with 41% noting that their organisations are merely focusing on one aspect of diversity over others.

"Some people feel existing diversity initiatives lean too heavily into singular facets such as gender, potentially at the expense of other markers of difference such as age or neurodiversity that may enhance creativity and innovation," the report read.

The findings come amid a challenging environment for attracting and retaining financial professionals due to a shortage of talent, according to Jillian Couse, Head of ACCA North America.

But the findings on EDI could present an opportunity for employers looking for an edge over their competitors.

"There's a real opportunity for employers who are strong in this area to differentiate themselves in a competitive market," Couse said in a statement.

Improving EDI practices

According to the respondents, employers can improve their EDI by ending biased hiring practices like nepotism and favouring affinities over skills or merit.

Managers should also be trained at recognising microaggressions and unconscious biases, while toxic work cultures should be addressed in the workplace.

In leadership, respondents said they want leaders to be required to demonstrate their commitment to EDI in words and actions.

Organisations should also have goals for inclusive representation at leadership levels, and members of underrepresented groups should also be recruited and developed into leadership pipelines.

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