New research has shown that nine in 10 companies globally, including the UK, have reported challenges in executing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) strategies. 

A new report by McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, has found that nine in 10 companies globally report finding problems and challenges when trying to execute DEI agendas. This is much to the detriment of “diverse employees” with only one in six feeling supported during the current crisis.

Despite this, the data shows that employers have made DEI a priority during this period. Nine in ten companies have stated that, even with the pressures of the crisis, issues surrounding diversity and inclusion have still remained a ‘moderate’, ‘very important’ or ‘top’ priority.

Two in every five companies around the world are showcasing their commitment to an inclusive workforce by continuing to expand their investment in DEI programs whilst making budget cuts elsewhere.

Despite this, the report finds that “diverse” employees including LGBTQ+ employees, employees of colour and women are struggling most in the workplace and with balancing work and home life.

Two-thirds of LGTBQ+ employees stated that mental health was one of the biggest challenges during this time and yet only just over half of employers (51 per cent) surveyed offered mental health counselling to their staff. Compared to heterosexual and cisgendered colleagues, LGBTQ+ reported being 1.4 times more likely to struggle with fair performance reviews and workload increases as well as loss of workplace connectivity and belonging.

Employees who are ethnic minorities are also disproportionately impacted. In the UK, these workers were 2.2 times more likely be concerned about job security and 1.7 times more likely to be concerned about a safe and healthy working place than white colleagues, perhaps due to BAME communities being more at risk for COVID-19.

Furthermore, women were also struggling due to the “double burden” of juggling work and household responsibilities. Most notably, women in the UK were 2.9 times more likely to report acute challenges with their mental health than men as well as 1.4 times more likely to be managing increased household responsibilities.

Working parents were similarly afflicted with parents being 4.1 times more likely to be struggling with increased household responsibilities and 3.2 times more likely to find it working from home difficult.

Within this report, McKinsey & Company made some vital suggestions to employers in order to support their most vulnerable employees. It stated that companies needed to rethink the traditional approach to diversity and inclusion which involves sharpening the DEI priority, rethinking flexibility and boundaries as specific sectors of employees are struggling with an increased workload and extending leadership beyond one’s own company.

*This research was taken from McKinsey & Company’s site which published this data in November 2020. It conducted global surveys in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This research was conducted between August 19 to September 1 2020 and surveyed 1,222 executives and 2,656 employees.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.