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Latest stories and announcements about the Diversity and Productivity project
Ken Mayhew

Improving diversity and performance is easy to say but hard to do

Summary:  Diversity and Productivity Academic Board Member, Ken Mayhew, Emeritus Professor of Education and Economic Performance, University of Oxford writes that the arguments for a diversified workforce are clear. But more research is needed to capture the benefits of diversity for organisational performance. He states that if diversity is to enhance the performance of organisations, giving agency and voice to all employees is what matters. A key question is how widespread and strong voice and agency actually are in the modern labour market.

Source: LSEBR, August 2023

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Research helps address ethnic disparities in degree awards

Summary:  There is a gap in degrees for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students at UK universities. This is often referred to as an ‘attainment gap’, as if the students were responsible for the inequality. However, many systemic factors – including institutional structures, racism and discrimination – contribute to student success. Leslie M Gutman and Fatima Younas describe their research to create positive change.

Source: LSEBR, July 2023

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How to support employee productivity and inclusion in a fast-changing workplace

Summary:  Many of the changes to the workplace over the last few years were unexpected, requiring strong leadership skills to navigate unknown territory. Based on previous interviews they have done with 100 employees across financial and professional services, Yolanda Blavo and Jasmine Virhia list five actions leaders can take to improve productivity and the inclusion of all employees.

Source: LSEBR, June 2023

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The value of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Summary:  Diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a major priority for companies, investors, and policymakers. However, most measures focus on demographic diversity alone. This column introduces a holistic measure of diversity, equity, and inclusion based on confidential employee responses to the Best Companies to Work For survey. Diversity, equity, and inclusion bears little, and sometimes a negative, relationship with typical diversity metrics, suggesting that companies can ‘hit the target, but miss the point’. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is positively correlated with future financial performance, but demographic diversity is not.

Source: Featured in CEPR policy porta

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Why Women Are Viewed as Lucky When They Succeed At Work

Summary:  Recent research out of The Inclusion Initiative from The London School of Economics found that people frequently confuse luck with ability — especially as it relates to men and women. This has implications for how we view workplace mistakes, can serve as the basis for gender discrimination, and contribute to exacerbating the gender pay gap.

Source: Featured in Forbes

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Leaders with courage listen, rather than roar

Summary:  The meaning of courage in leadership has changed from “command and control” to joining the dots of the available perspectives as a way to innovate. Now, the key task for leaders is to listen actively. Yolanda Blavo and Grace Lordan write that, with the acceleration of artificial intelligence, knowledge alone is not much of a competitive advantage and the odds of a single leader having innovative ideas may be diminished.

Source: LSEBR, May 2023

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Using AI for better work-life with employees working fewer hours

Summary:  Aiming at a better work life balance after the pandemic, so called “quiet quitting” is a fact, especially for younger staffers and men, researchers have found. By “quiet quitting” they describe employees reducing their working efforts and hours worked rather than leaving a job.  Dr Grace Lordan, Director of The Inclusion Initiative at LSE, said results highlight a clear preference for greater work-life balance, and with a big potential for artificial intelligence to complement “quiet quitting”.

Source: Featured in Moonshot News

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How generative AI can support inclusion

Summary:  Large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are prone to making things up, getting the facts wrong and infringing customers’ data privacy. But they also offer many benefits and domain specific LLMs are being integrated into specialised applications in different areas. Christine Chow, Charlotte Bourquin and Enkhzul Stricker find at least two use cases that can leverage ChatGPT’s distinctive advantages from an inclusion perspective: therapy assistance and policy communication.

Source: LSEBR, June 2023

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Which educational policies are most effective for equalising opportunities?

Summary:  Against a backdrop of poor productivity growth, severe skill shortages and increasing educational inequalities in the UK since the pandemic, investment in education and skills is essential. It requires policies that span from the early years right through to adulthood.

Source: Economics Observatory

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Investment in younger people is fundamental to productivity growth

Summary:  Prof Lindsey Macmillan is the Founding Director of UCL’s Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities and a world leader in understanding and tackling educational inequality. Professor Macmillan is also a co-investigator on the ESRC funded DaPEW project.

Source: UCL Policy Lab, 24 September 2022

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Diversity and Inclusion Reception hosted by International Women’s Forum UK and The Inclusion Initiative

Summary:  International Women’s Forum UK (IWF UK) Autumn Reception, hosted by The Inclusion Initiative (TII) brought together leaders across industry who focus on Diversity and Inclusion in their senior executive and non-executive director roles to discuss issues faced by leaders and how to create more inclusive and productive organisations.

Source: TII News, 6 October 2022

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What Economists Really Do – Race Related Research in Economics

Summary:  The popular public engagement series ‘What Economists Really Do’ run by the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford featured Associate Professor and DaWEP Co-Investigator Arun Advani, who discussed how does economics compare to other social sciences in its study of issues related to race and ethnicity?

Source: What Economists Really Do, 25 October 2022

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Finance staff ignoring mandatory office attendance in move away from presenteeism

Summary:  Financial and professional services have moved far beyond the traditional 9 to 6 Monday to Friday work week, towards more bespoke working models that align with providing efficient operations at the team level, and heightened autonomy for its workers, according to a new report by Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF) and LSE.

Source: LSE News, 28 November 2022

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Flexible work on Wall Street is here to stay, whether bosses like it or not

Summary:  As 2021’s dealmaking boom went bust this year, big bank chiefs flocked to nix virtual work policies and summon staff back to offices. But droves of Wall Street employees are resisting those mandates as the future of work evolves. On Wall Street as in most corporate settings, the pre-pandemic office shows few signs of roaring back.

 

A survey of employees across the financial industry published last month — covering institutions including the likes of Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and JPMorgan — found 95% of respondents favoured hybrid work, while only a handful backed a full-time office return.

 

The study, conducted by Women in Banking and Finance and the London School of Economics, saw none of the 100 participants, however, call for fully remote setups.

Source: By Alexandra Semenova, Yahoo! Finance, 10 December 2022

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'I quit my job rather than go back to the office'

Summary:  Nearly two-thirds of workers say they are more productive in a hybrid or remote working environment.

Source: By Ian Rose, BBC, 19 December 2022

By the Diversity and Productivity team:
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How Empathy and Competence Promote a Diverse Leadership Culture

Summary:  Achieving gender balance in management teams requires focusing on the role that the leadership environment plays in shaping ambitions, opportunities, and experience. Meaningful diversity and inclusion actions are now seen as mandatory for new generations entering the workforce. But the effectiveness of current measures in the finance sector falls short of these expectations. The 2021 Women in the Workplace study conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.org found that women in North America remain dramatically underrepresented in financial services.

Authors: T. Almeida, G. Lordan (2022)

Image by Evangeline Shaw

Economics in the UK has a diversity problem that starts in schools and colleges

Summary: The future of UK economics is looking predominantly male and disproportionately privately educated. This column introduces #DiscoverEconomics – a campaign to increase diversity in economics led by the Royal Economic Society and with the support of a wide range of institutions involved in economic research, communication and policymaking, including the Bank of England, the Government Economic Service, the Society of Professional Economists and many leading research institutions. The campaign aims to attract more women, ethnic minority students, and students from state schools and colleges to study the subject at university.

Authors: A. Advani, R. Griffith and S. Smith (2019), VoxEU

Image by Mikael Kristenson

How would minimum entry grades affect opportunities in higher education?

Summary: The UK government is consulting on the introduction of minimum eligibility requirements for access to student loans. Claire Crawford and Gill Wyness argue that if such a reform is introduced, it is likely to prevent many who miss getting the required grades from going to university.

Authors: C. Crawford, G. Wyness (2022). Economics Observatory

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