A new report highlights a worrying lack of standardisation when it comes to training policy, leading many HR leaders to miss out on adequate training or receive no training whatsoever in diversity and inclusion.  

New research from AssessFirst has shown a significant gap in the education and training of DE&I for HR professionals in the workplace.

This has led to one in five HR leaders failing to either receive adequate training or any training altogether in diversity and inclusion.

This is despite as many as 97 per cent of respondents stating diversity, equity and inclusion is a major priority for the coming year.

In particular, areas of diversity which were reported to be a prime concern included gender (17 per cent), ethnicity (14 per cent) or all areas equally (61 per cent).

Conversely, just 4 per cent of firms aimed to hone in on disability and this number dropped further when regarding sexual orientation (2 per cent).

COVID-19 was also shown to have had a varying impact on the implementation of DE&I policies – with over a third (34 per cent) stating the pandemic had accelerated progress while over a quarter (27 per cent) arguing it had actually slowed progress down in this area.

David Bernard, founder and CEO of AssessFirst, noted the strides that had been made during the pandemic:

Following almost two years of widened remote working due to the coronavirus pandemic, this environment has opened doors for bigger and better opportunities for both employer and employee, allowing a multitude of candidates to apply for jobs that would have otherwise been deemed unattainable, for whatever reason.

However, he added this must be sustained moving forward through standardised policy:

We must not be allowed to reverse the clock and fall back into old habits. I truly believe it is imperative that the government introduce training regulations to support HR and Recruitment teams as they source, evaluate and manage all candidates. Ultimately, this will create higher performing businesses that are more efficient – and free from bias.

HR is critical to a business’ ability to succeed – especially at a time when UK job vacancies are at a 20 year high. And HR is overwhelmingly saying that DE&I is a very high priority. Most HR leaders are now well-placed to drive meaningful change, but only if they are supported with the right training and legislation.

*This research has been obtained through AssessFirst’s 2021 DE&I report which surveyed over 200 HR leaders in the UK.





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.