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45 companies pledge to make Irish workplaces more inclusive

20 May 2021417 Views

Accenture, BT, Deloitte, Eir and more have signed BITCI’s new Elevate pledge, committing to greater diversity and inclusion.

A new pledge has been signed by 45 companies in Ireland in a bid to make workplaces more diverse and inclusive.

The Elevate pledge from non-profit national network Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) will see companies commit to inclusivity measures such as disability confidence training and gender pay gap analyses.

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It follows a report by BITCI and Deloitte called Diversity and Inclusion in Focus, which looked to reveal some of the social inequalities that exist in Ireland today and explore the barriers to inclusion experienced by both employers and jobseekers.

If found that compared to “the general population”, a person who has a disability is four and half times more likely to be unemployed in Ireland, a black person is six times more likely to be unemployed, and members of the Traveller community are 13 times more likely.

‘Companies have a fundamental role to play and know that they have to do more’
– TOMÁS SERCOVICH

During focus groups carried out for the report earlier this year, some participants said they had been told by recruiters to change their names so they’d be accepted by Irish employers.

Others said they were frustrated that their education and skills weren’t recognised or appreciated by Irish employers, leading to them working in low-paid jobs that didn’t reflect their experience, and that employers and recruiters didn’t have sufficient knowledge of visa processes.

For companies taking part in Elevate, the pledge must be signed by their CEO. It asks all signatories to assess and profile their diversity levels and implement measures for inclusion.

Each company will have to provide diversity profile data on their own workforce, starting with their senior management teams, and measure the impacts of their actions to improve inclusivity.

Companies that have signed the pledge so far include Accenture, Aviva, BT, Cork Chamber, Deloitte, Eir, Fujitsu, Heineken, Irish Water, Janssen, Sky, SSE Ireland and William Fry.

Signatories have already committed to a number of actions. These include rolling out mandatory ‘race awareness learning’ for all staff, achieving an equal gender balance in senior appointments by the end of 2021, reviewing job descriptions to eliminate unintended bias, carrying out a gender pay gap analysis, and partnering with a DEIS school to give transition-year students placement opportunities.

To monitor progress on these commitments, BITCI said it will publish reports annually. The first is planned for mid-2022.

“The global pandemic and movements such as #BlackLivesMatter have shone a spotlight on the major inequality in our society,” said BITCI CEO Tomás Sercovich.

“Companies have a fundamental role to play and know that they have to do more. We are at the foothills of realising truly inclusive workplaces, but the power of a collective response from BITCI members and learning from each other will lead to continuous improvement as we have seen previously with our low-carbon pledge.”

Earlier this year, more than 60 companies in different industries across Ireland pledged to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets in the coming years as part of a BITCI initiative.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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