Championing diversity: Government survey highlights need for progress

A Government survey has revealed that 20% of employers see ‘no benefits at all’ in a diverse work force

Championing diversity: Government survey highlights need for progress

The BFA has long been a supporter of DE&I in the franchise workplace. In light of a new Government survey released in September 2023, revealing that some employers see ‘no benefit at all’ in a diverse work force, they double down on their efforts to encourage all franchisors to build a diverse and inclusive workplace for the good of their franchise, their franchisees and their employees.

In Sept 2023, the Government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) published the results of their Employer Survey 20221. The survey questioned 8,002 employers in Great Britain in a bid to understand their attitudes and behaviour in relation to a range of topics including recruitment, retention, progression, pensions, specific groups who may be disadvantaged in the labour market, diversity, health, and disability at work.

20% of employers see ‘no benefit at all’ in a diverse workforce

When questioned about ‘Diversity of the workforce’ half of employers (50%) said they do monitor the diversity whilst 45% said they don’t. And whilst three in ten employers (31%) said that a benefit in employing a diverse workforce would be improved culture, one in five employers (20%) said they didn’t see any benefit at all.

Whilst it saddens us to think that we still have a long way to go, it merely reinforces how important it is for us to keep campaigning for better inclusion and diversity within our own sector of franchising.

DE&I and the BFA

As many of you know, we have been talking about DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) for a long time now. We regularly highlight people within our community and how franchise brands support them, setting some great examples for us all.

‘A long way to go’

Recently, we talked to Laura Wilder, a McDonald’s franchisee. Laura is a huge LGBTQIA+ supporter and takes pride in building an inclusive workplace for her staff.

When asked if there were any changes she would like to see in terms of LGBTQIA+ representation and inclusivity in the franchise industry or in industry in general she said: “Although there has been progression in this space around representation, I still feel that there’s a long way to go and that all businesses must continue to strive to ensure they are promoting a culture that is truly equal, diverse and inclusive. One that is reflective of the wider society we live in. We all have an important part to play, and employers need to ensure that they’re leading from the front.”

‘People, Partnership and Pride’

In June we not only published a groundbreaking interview with our Chief Executive Pip Wilkins about being a gay woman in franchising, but we also talked to Shuttercraft who have built a brand fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment. Their franchise manager, Clarrisa Hearn, told us about their values, ‘People, Partnership and Pride.’

‘Our values empower our teams to be who they are, supporting each other and our network of franchise partners and trade businesses.’

In recognition of Pride Month this year Shuttercraft relabelled all their toilets as unisex and improved access for those with ability needs. They relaunched their well-being support benefits package and did a review of their HR offering to include more current and people orientated-support including a formal onboarding programme that includes diversity training. 

Franchising – The future

DE&I isn’t just important for the here and now but is vital for the future of franchising too.

As health and safety, HR, and employment law specialists Citation, who have themselves been voted as ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Employer’ numerous times, said: ‘Young individuals today put an ever-increasing focus on equality and they expect their workplaces to mirror these values, so make sure your building an inclusive and diverse work environment that respects and celebrates differences whether in terms of race, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.’

If you are a franchisor, we urge you to review your brand practices to ensure you have all the policies and practices in place to be a welcoming and supportive employer.

If you are thinking of buying a franchise, please know that we are a very welcoming community but like the rest of the country, we probably need to do better. DE&I is a subject we at the BFA take very seriously and, we are campaigning hard for it to be at the top of every franchisor’s agenda.

For more information about DE&I friendly BFA members visit our new ‘Franchising for all’ Campaign Centre.


Pip Wilkins
Pip Wilkins