DEI Progress Stalling in the City

Average scores for diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) dipped among UK financial services firms, prompting a call for greater c-suite leadership. The 2023 Reboot Race to Equality Index found that average scores – based on the views of 800 employees with at least 10 years’ experience in the sector – fell back two points to the 2021 level. Reboot – a campaign group of senior financial services professionals working to advance dialogue and action on race and ethnicity in the workplace – said the decline was primarily driven by lower levels of perceived commitment to tackling racism from senior leadership. Four in ten respondents said they did not believe that their CEOs or top-level leaders were sufficiently committed to addressing racial discrimination in the workplace, with almost half suggesting that senior leaders didn’t fully understand the impact of racism. Reboot said CEOs should make greater use their influence on corporate culture, including by a stronger commitment to communication and training about racism. The organisation also recommended greater transparency in reporting on ethnicity pay gaps, as well as a zero-tolerance stance on racism, clear goal-setting, and fostering accountability at all levels. Noreen Biddle Shah, Founder of Reboot, said the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent DEI consultation could increase transparency. “We hope the conclusion of the consultation will include a mandatory reporting process involving the publishing of data, a narrative around that data and an action plan to show how this will progressively improve – tracked year on year to ensure accountability,” she said.

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