Tracking progress on diversity and inclusion in UK retail

For a second year running The MBS Group is delighted to have partnered with the BRC to produce the report Tracking progress on diversity and inclusion in UK retail, which holds a mirror up to the retail industry and measure the status of diversity and inclusion within the sector. 

This report draws on research from the industry’s leading businesses and conversations with Chairs, CEOs and HR Directors, combined with analysis of survey data provided by retailers who have signed up to the BRC D&I Charter.  

Our research finds that progress has been made on D&I strategies, which are more common and more comprehensive than last year, but that the industry’s leadership is still far from representing the communities it serves:  

• 91% of retailers have a coordinated D&I strategy, up from 76% last year  

• Three-quarters of businesses say that D&I is owned by their CEO, compared to only half in 2021  

• Female leadership has increased only slightly at Board (+4.9%) and executive committee (+2.2%) level – but, worryingly, has dipped at direct reports level (i.e. future Board pipeline) from 37.5% last year, to 34.8% this year 

• Whilst there has been progress driving ethnic minority leadership representation, the most senior roles in our sector are still dominated by white leaders, and momentum to drive up ethnic minority representation has slowed since last year, when retailers were responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. More than a third of retailers still have all-white Boards, and just less than a third have all-white executive committees. 

• D&I strategies are more likely to include actions on disability, social mobility and LGBTQ+ than they did last year – but, throughout the retail sector, there is still a significant lack of senior roles models from these groups  

Our second report looks closely at key aspects of diversity, including gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, social mobility and age, and provides analysis into the challenges and opportunities that retailers face. Additionally, we have featured four case studies that share best practice from businesses at different stages of their D&I journey.  

You can download a copy of the report here and, of course, any feedback would be much appreciated.