Learning & Development is not a man’s world as diversity falls by the wayside, according to a new survey conducted by Training Journal
Women are rising to the top in the Learning & Development industry as diversity falls by the wayside, according to new research carried out by Training Journal.
The publication surveyed its readers on equality and diversity in their workplace to get a better overview of the professionals who work in the HR, L&D and OD sectors.
Surprisingly, the data contradicted recent studies revealing that women do not get as far as men as 69 per cent of respondents were female. Within that group 30 per cent worked as HR/L&D/OD Directors and 35 per cent were HR/L&D/OD Managers.
The online survey, which was conducted between the 15th to 27th June, and 267 responses were received during this time, allowing robust comparisons to be made, also revealed the lack of diversity in the sector with 87 per cent of the industry being white.
This issue was raised by a number of respondents, including a learning technologist who said: “Attending conferences and visiting organisations, it definitely feels like black and Asian people are underrepresented in all areas, but particularly at the managerial level.”
Others said businesses should be responsible for wider cultural change when it comes to diversity and recruitment, and emphasised that this should be led by its senior executives.
A HR/L&D/OD manager said: “HR and L&D in general are similar to many professional fields in that they are grossly un-represented in terms of having people from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. Most of the L&D people I know within large blue-chip organisations are overwhelmingly female, white and from middle-class backgrounds. I think this can have an impact on how diverse groups view the profession.”
In relation to this, almost one in five said they had been discriminated against because of their age and 9 per cent mentioned ethnicity.
The survey also revealed that 65 per cent respondents had over ten years’ experience, while 38 per cent were aged 46-55 – an indicator that the respondents were a mature and experienced group of practitioners.
Interestingly, one in four said they had been discriminated against because of their gender and commented on how working mothers were still being penalised for having children.
The issue of equality was also raised, coinciding with David Cameron’s announcement today of plans to tackle gender pay gaps by forcing large firms to disclose staff data that would “create the pressure we need for change.”
A female respondent who has worked in the industry for 1-5 years said: “Why is that, in the 21st Century, professional women can still be paid less than their male equivalents? How can a man who may have a technical background in the sector earn more than a qualified professional woman? For example a male sales trainer versus a qualified learning and development manager who devises strategy as well as delivers a plan?”
So in conclusion, the data shows that the industry has a long way to go in terms of diversity and gender equality, but how can this be changed?