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European fashion businesses leveraging employee networks for D&I




Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are slowly but gradually becoming a priority for forward-thinking leaders in the fashion industry in Europe. Heads of progressive companies are introducing policies for upward social mobility, meeting challenging goals, and capitalising on employee networks to understand and enable colleagues in the workplace.

While diversity and inclusion (D&I) have not been the main focus of the European fashion industry despite racial anti-discrimination movements like Black Lives Matter, many fashion businesses are waking up to the importance of workplace diversity in an industry still dominated by white men, according to a report. The first-of-its-kind industry report, launched by the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the MBS Group — a top executive search and leadership advisory firm, assesses the leadership diversity of fashion businesses and the degree to which D&I are being prioritised.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are slowly but gradually becoming a priority for forward-thinking leaders in the fashion industry in Europe. Heads of progressive companies are introducing policies for upward social mobility, meeting challenging goals, and capitalising on employee networks to understand and enable colleagues in the workplace.

The study, titled ‘Diversity and Inclusion in the Fashion Industry,’ explores leadership diversity in more than 100 fashion businesses in Europe. These fashion businesses were of all ownership types, sub-sectors, and sizes. The report also includes ‘industry insights’ from interviews with CEOs, Chairs, and HRDs on the treatment of D&I in the industry, providing a helpful tool for bosses to sharpen their focus on D&I.

Only 51 per cent of fashion businesses in the region have coordinated D&I strategies, and few have any particular goals for minority representation or specific budgets set aside for D&I programmes, as per the report. The proportion of women is below 40 per cent at the board, executive committee, and direct report level even though women make up the majority of the consumers. It also revealed a disappointing lack of ethnic diversity at the direct report level.

“The last few years have provided a critical moment of self-reflection for the fashion industry as businesses have begun to understand the importance of diverse thought and representation across all levels of their organisations. The MBS Diversity & Inclusion in the Fashion Industry report aims to facilitate this shifting priority by addressing the severe lack of industry-wide data on the diversity of the workforce. The report evidences the anecdotal feedback received, highlights organisations that are leading the way, and looks at industry-wide programmes that will accelerate change,” said Jamie Gill, chair, BFC D&I Steering Committee, CEO, Roksanda and BFC non-executive director, in a press release.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (NB)





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