Those who do not meet the standard idea of a heterosexual, white male are less well represented higher up the career ladder because they come up against the ‘glass cliff’. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that there are hidden factors which influence the career progress of people because of their age, disability, religion, ethnicity, parental status as well as their sex.
Only 19 percent of respondents to a survey said they feel it is easy to get ahead and that leadership positions are open to them. Over half of the respondents feel they have to take risks to get ahead, while three-fifths say they are placed in risky positions and are allocated hard-to-solve problems without being given adequate resources or support to complete them.
The CIPD report ‘Managing diversity and the glass cliff’ argues that simply seeking to fix the numbers through targets will not deliver lasting results in creating a more diverse workforce. It is not realistic to depend on legislation as the only lever for making progress. Research shows that leading edge employers on diversity don’t just seek to comply with the law but tailor good employment and working practices to support organisational goals.
Employers are urged to be aware of the impact of negative experiences on people’s performance and take appropriate action to address them. There is growing evidence that a positive approach to diversity can bring real benefits and employers need to find practical interventions that fully engage workforce diversity.