Inclusion is “the nut to crack” in retail industry, says BRC report

Around 35 per cent of retailers still have an all-white board, while over half have no ethnic diversity on their executive committees according to a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and executive search firm The MBS Group.

The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the UK Retail report found that some improvements had been made, with female representation at board level jumping from around 33 per cent in 2021 to 42 per cent in 2024.

The percentage of ethnic minority leaders on boards has nearly tripled, climbing from 4.5 per cent to 12 per cent over the same time frame.

Around two thirds of companies have at least executive from the LGBTQ+ community, which is an increase from around a quarter in 2021.

The report noted that there is a lack of disabled role models with just 11 per cent of those surveyed able to identify a disabled executive working at their company.

Almost all retailers, 98 per cent, have a D&I strategy in place while 67 per cent of retailers now include social mobility in their strategies, up from 20 per cent in 2021.

Commenting on the news Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said that she was pleased at the improvements made in three years when retailers could have dropped D&I measures to cope with the “turbulent” economic situation.

“It is clear that initiatives, such as our D&I Charter are vitally important in helping retailers learn from each other and drive forward change but, inclusion is the nut the industry still needs to crack,” she said. “The progress made on diversity will only be meaningful and effective when it happens in tandem with a workforce where every employee feels happy and included.

“There needs to be greater focus on initiatives to change workplace culture to ensure we see this shift on inclusion. Only then will we complete our mission in creating a truly diverse and inclusive industry.”

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