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Equality and Diversity at the Workplace

Published by at January 23rd, 2024 , Revised On March 20, 2024

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The demographic characteristics of the workforce have changed significantly with the changing effect of globalization and markets expansion. Modern workplaces are undergoing a dramatic change in organizational hierarchies, cultures, gender diversity, technological innovation, and structures (Grissom, 2018).

Equal opportunity and diversity in the workforce strongly impact organizational performance, which eludes discrimination and employment injustice (Booysen et al., 2018). Modern business ventures increasingly understand the importance of workforce diversity to avoid conflicts and workforce tensions, as it is considered an effective element to enhance employees’ productivity.

However, the inequality of gender in the workforce with minimum diversity is also a challenge for modern business as the people management is sometimes unable to manage the diversity and prefers one gender over the other to increase productivity (Monk, 2007).

The inequality and discriminative behavior of the employers towards hiring women on a defined proportion adversely impacts the psychological and social existence. Similarly, tolerance for employees’ rights and violation of international business rules to protect the women and minority proportion in the workforce is increasing enormously.

The outlawing of the Racial Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act (1975) in the UK are not effectively compliant with the recruitment goals of organizations nowadays. Instead, organizations are keen to bring a more productive and creative workforce to obtain their objectives without considering the legislative requirements (Earnshaw, 2003).

This study critically investigates the significance of managing workforce diversity and gender equality to enhance the business’s productivity. Moreover, the study intends to highlight the major barriers for human resources of modern organizations to outlaw gender equality and diversity management in some organizations.

Likewise, the current study will also emphasize the different driving factors that help employers enhance their recruitment strategy by increasing equality and diversity of the workforce.

The author will provide the implications for the case (Cassandra – a female employee of an organization facing discrimination) and demonstrate the significance of bringing equality for the employers.


Significance of Equality and Diversity in Workforce:

The demographic changes in the workforce of modern organizations are bringing various opportunities for businesses to prosper and gain a competitive advantage over the market.

Graham & Wright (2021) argued that managing diversity and assuring equality leads organizations toward fostering a workplace culture that recognizes skills beyond preconceptions and assists people in reaching their full potential by delivering their best regardless of discrimination.

Furthermore, an inclusive workplace with equality and diversity promotes efficiency and productivity. According to Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google),

“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

(Source: Jaffé et al., 2019)

O’Donovan (2018) contended that increasing gender equality and diversity of the workforce in modern organizations is evident of demographic changes helps increase productivity and promotes innovation in the organization.

According to Cloverpop (2021), the diverse workforce helps enhance any organization’s decision-making and operations management by 87%. According to Chang & Milkman (2020), diverse organizations with equality in the workforce demonstrate greater innovation and creativity in decision-making and solutions.

A firm that accepts this truth and supports an environment of equality and diversity has a higher chance of long-term success and a positive work environment (Velasco & Sansone, 2019).

Many researchers emphasized the importance of equality to prevent the issues like harassment, bullying, and discrimination with the minority (race, age, gender, or religion). Furthermore, Dyer & Hurd (2018) reported that increased equality in the workforce also helps organizations enhance their employees’ commitment, loyalty, and enthusiasm.

A diversified staff guarantees that you have the necessary knowledge to enter new consumer groups or geographical regions. The annual report of Deliotte (2021) shows that 72% of the job candidates base choose their employers based on the rate of equality and diversity in the organization, whereas 82% of the women give preference to the inclusion and diversity for choosing their employers.

From the employees’ perspective, equal opportunity for employment increases the sense of trust and increases the commitment towards the employer. Moreover, it increases job satisfaction and produces positive psychological impacts, increasing the employees’ strength and productivity.

The women employees in any organization feel safe and show more commitment to work where the opportunity of employment is equal for all genders. An equal percentage of males and females at work implies that the job’s fundamental criteria recognize both males’ and females’ abilities (Dyer & Hurd., 2018).

However, diversity and equality in the workforce have not increased greatly, regardless of many driving factors and advantages for employers and employees.

Psychological Impact of Inequality on Employees:

Human resources of any organization are responsible for recruiting and selecting the most suitable job candidates for increasing organizational productivity and achieving a competitive advantage in the tight business market (Cletus et al., 2018).

However, organizational decision-makers’ personal discrimination against women can happen at any level of human resource-related choice, including talent acquisition, position deployments, training programs, remuneration, performance appraisal, promotion, and dismissal.

Worldwide, this inequality and gender discrimination tends to have adverse impacts on women employees, leading to serious mental health issues.

Gender inequality has been linked to greater levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women and oppressed orientation individuals. According to Savikko et al. (2008), the domination of men against women in the workplace is a major reason for the high psychological disorder and mental health issues among women in the UK.

Similarly, Svedberg et al. (2009) contended that better health status and positive mental health of the women employees are reported among those women who are employed in gender-integrated organizations.

The different types of inequalities have different psychological impacts on the employees. Men get 15.4% more salary than women full-time workers in the UK. Similarly, Statista (2021) reported that the share of females at the highest-level jobs (CEOs and Directors) in the other multinational cooperation is just 8% compared to 92% of males.

Likewise, the promotion of women in the organizations is almost 50% less than men, and females receive 7.3% less high-rating performance than males (Yennifer, 2020). All these statistics show the severely increasing gender inequality in UK-based organizations and adversely affecting the psychological state of females in the UK.

According to Statista (2022), the inequality and discrimination against women in modern organizations have also increased females’ exposure to abusive environments (see Appendix). 13% of women in the UK experience whistling, rude comments, and suggestive looks, 10% of women experience embarrassing comments on the choice of clothing and body shape.

Almost 37% of female employees in the UK complain the physical abuse, indecent proposals, being offered embarrassing gifts, pressured to give sexual favors by their employers and co-workers in their workplaces (Statista, 2022).

The psychological impact of gender inequality on women is disastrous as the generalized anxiety and panic disorder among women is twice more than men. Additionally, women are twice more likely to develop PSTD and take more depression than men.

Even women’s eating and sleeping disorder is four to 10 times more than men due to discrimination and gender inequality at workplaces in the UK. Although these statistics by the MNT (2021) are overrepresented, the psychological disorder is influenced by many factors, including the gender difference, which women usually experience at workplaces.

Not only women but men are also likely to experience the psychological impacts of inequality in organizations, and it also affects their mental health. Grissom (2018) argued that inequality and gender discrimination against men increases the risk of more overly drinking, more likely to be engaged in violent activities and probability of taking unhealthy risks.

Similarly, the suicide rate of males over females is more when it comes to psychological disorders because men are less likely to speak about their problems and with family and friends to seek professional help.

Health programs must address gender equality in the workplace as a social predictor of health to eliminate disparities in mental health outcomes between men and women.

Thus, the psychological impact of gender inequality in modern organizations across the world has increased the need to enforce new legislation under the United Nations Human Rights (UNHR).

The regulations and international law for recruitment of employees without inequality and gender discrimination must be enforced in worldwide organizations in an organized manner.

Organizational Inequality and discrimination – Legal Perspective:

The inequality in corporate workplaces is not a new phenomenon; however, the prevention of disparity and discrimination has always been a challenge for employers and human rights agencies.

From time to time, different Legislative Acts were passed to minimize the discriminative behavior of employers and co-workers in the workplace environment. Till 2010, companies in the United Kingdom were essentially unrestricted by law in their rights to hire and retain the personnel of their choice.

Only choices based on gender or race might be challenged in court. The different governmental legislative acts are key to success for the UK’s business environment. To control employers’ discriminative behavior for recruiting their choice and characteristics-based employee (Dyer & Hurd., 2018).

Equality Act 2010 is one of the major legislative steps introduced to demolish unlawful disparity and discrimination in UK-based workplaces to enhance the opportunities for equality.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for companies to prejudice against employees and place the obligation on enterprises to ban discriminatory behaviour and make modifications so that everyone has equal opportunities.

The Equality Act 2010 in the UK protects the discriminative behavior affected individuals with up to nine protective characteristics. Thus, the employers are abiding by the law and unable to discriminate against any characteristic of a person from; age, gender, race, religion/ belief, sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability, and sexual orientation.

Similarly, the UK government also introduced an Equal Pay Act in 1975, 2006, and 2010 and Sex Discrimination Act 1975, which provides that, “a person discriminates against a woman if on the grounds of her sex he treats her less favorably than he treats or would treat a man.”

(Source: Earnshaw, 2003)

The motive of this Act was to minimize the discrimination of salary based on gender, and it mandated equal pay for equal work of any individual (either male or female) to reduce the mistreatment of employees in the workplace.

Likewise, the government earlier enforced the Employment Equality Act 2006 as a secondary legislative framework, prohibiting unacceptable discrimination by the employers based on age, but it was superseded into the Equality Act 2010 to include the many other discriminative elements like race gender, religion, etc.

Even the Employment Act 2002 also protects workers’ rights and safeguards the employees and employers from discrimination in the business (Cletus et al., 2018; Earnshaw, 2003).

Although the government has taken these legislative measures to prevent discrimination in the workplace, employers are still outlawing these regulations to increase their benefits. Thus, the current legislation and frameworks around diversity issues and workforce inequality merely protect people in the notion that if respective legal rights are violated, they may file a valid claim and, if justified, get compensation.

Nevertheless, it’s indeed self-evident since financial benefits are a poor means to cure most of the suffering that may be inflicted, and it has previously been highlighted that in situations of gender discrimination, financial rewards play little role in the choice to take legal action (Earnshaw, 2003).

Business, Psychology, and Law – Inequality Challenges:

Regardless of having various advantages of the equality and diversity of workforce for the modern organizations in the competitive business environment, very few firms embrace this change (Cletus et al., 2018).

The main hindrance to equality is discriminative behavior of the employers and intolerance of the individuals based on the different characteristics of different personalities. Age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and political and religious beliefs are the crucial elements hindering workforce equality and diversity for employers in UK-based organizations (O’Donovan, 2018).

Despite the strict laws and regulations enforced by the government since 1975 about discriminatory behaviour and inequality, employers in the UK are outlawing these Acts. Lack of structural framework to implement these Acts and Regulations is one of the major factors that save employers from facing strict actions by the government’s human rights department.

This outlawing approach of employers affects the productivity of the organizations and impacts the mental and psychological health of the inequality victims in the UK. The increasing mental disorder, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and tension among the employees (both males and females) reflect the impacts of inequality and discriminative behavior (Svedberg et al., 2009).

It is need of time that government should introduce a structure to implement the national and international Employment Acts, Equality Acts, and Discrimination Acts for controlling the gradually increasing challenge of gender discrimination.

The significance of equality and diversity in the workplace has forced many organizations to reduce discrimination for age, race, gender, sex, and religious belief. The impact of equality and workforce diversity on businesses is very positive, and many FTSE companies are increasing their dependence on this human resource to become more innovative and creative.

  • Google (the famous American Multinational Technology Company) has set the goals of employing an equal number of males and females to reduce gender discrimination. Moreover, Google started from the bottom to include women at the lower-level jobs and aims to bring this change even to senior management. For the effective mentoring of females for their careers, Google announced the CodeF project in the UK in 2011 (considering 200 computer science undergraduate students). After the program, Google hired 50 those female students in the technology and innovation department. Thomas Harwell (Google’s head of diversity and inclusion for the EMEA region) explained his company’s strategy for reducing inequality, said that.

I think the key thing is to challenge the composition of the level below the senior executives and managers, as they are the people who will be on the board in the future. This level should be 50:50 men and women. And we are certainly going in the right direction here at Google

(Source: Stewart, 2021)

  • A French international banking group, BNP Paribas, started the annual inclusion and diversion week to inspire people and increase awareness of workforce diversity and equality. The event was first held in the UK in 2014 at ten different local offices, including panel discussions, seminars, and talks with 50 events. BNP Paribas’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion saying that.

“Diversity and Inclusion are core to our culture. In celebrating the different backgrounds and perspectives of our employees, we hope to engage and inspire everyone to bring more of what makes them unique to the workplace.”

(Source: Petty, 2020)

Case Study – Cassandra:

The mid-sized companies have scarce human resources; thus, the focus of these companies is to increase the productivity of employees, outlawing the need for equality and diversity in the workforce (Areiqa et al., 2020).

In the case of Cassandra, the organization is mid-sized, and the role of female employees in the company is less compared to males; additionally, males dominate the decision-making process. The domination of male employees and other perks based on gender discrimination can adversely affect the organizational productivity of Cassandra’s company in the longer run.

The psychological impact of this discriminative behavior on the mental health of the female employees (including Cassandra) is very adverse. Moreover, the organization is also outlawing the different legislations for equality and discrimination acts given by the UK government.

The frustration of Cassandra for not letting her contribute to the group discussions will lead to consistent anxiety and depression; also, this can affect Cassandra’s career.

However, Cassandra’s organization has positively changed the recruitment policy, and new hires of females are the major step towards workforce equality. According to Monks (2007), the benefits of equality and diversity initiatives for mid-sized companies give access to new labor pools.

Moreover, the organization can enhance its reputation with employees’ strengthened commitment and efficiency. Furthermore, the equality and diversity of the workforce for Cassandra’s organization under the Equality Act 2010 will assure the legislative requirements for the company.

According to Booysen et al. (2018), organizations must adhere to the equality rules and regulations defined by the government as lowers the risk of outlawing the legislative requirements.

Furthermore, the innovation and creativity in the organization enhance the equality of the workforce and effectively manage relations between employer and employees (Dyer & Hurd., 2018). Legal compliance by avoiding gender discrimination can also reduce litigation costs and enhance global management capacity.

Thus, the organizations must consider the need and significance of workforce equality in terms of gender, age, race, and religion with cultural diversity to get a competitive advantage in the market.

It will increase the employees’ trust, commitment, and strength, while also positively affecting the business and legal requirements to gain sustainable growth in the market (Chang a& Milkman, 2020).

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This study critically investigated the significance of equality and diversity of the workforce in modern organizations. The study concludes that inclusion and diversity positively affect the workplace environment and lead to the more creative and innovative capability of the organization.

The access of employers and people management to new labor pools and attracting talented people by reducing the job inequality can be crucial for the business’ success in this competitive business environment. The impact of inequality on the business is very adverse and can lower organizational productivity while abiding by the different legislative protections for the employees.

Moreover, the study concluded that different legislations, including the Equality Act 2010, Sex Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act, Employment Act and many other legislative measures for the growth of equality in organizations, are not implemented successfully.

Many organizations are outlawing the legal requirements and forcing gender discrimination against women in the UK. This inequality adversely affects the employees’ psychological and mental health in the organizations, leading to more stress, anxiety, depression, and tension among the individuals who face discrimination of any type.

A similar psychological impact of the discrimination is given in Cassandria’s case, affecting mental and physical health due to male domination in the decision-making process. Thus, the organization (where Cassandria works) should take a positive approach to reduce gender inequality to gain business advantages and comply with the legislative requirements for equality in the workplace.

Besides, this positive approach can revolutionize organizational productivity and minimize the psychological impacts of inequality in the workplace.


Areiqat, A., Hamdan, Y., Zamil, A., & Aldabbagh, I. (2020). True workplace diversity: a key ingredient for business success, regardless of the industry or company size. Journal of Talent Development and Excellence12(2), 2304-2314.

Booysen, L. A., Bendl, R., & Pringle, J. K. (Eds.). (2018). Handbook of research methods in diversity management, equality and inclusion at work. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Chang, E. H., & Milkman, K. L. (2020). Improving decisions that affect gender equality in the workplace. Organizational Dynamics49(1), 100709.

Cletus, H. E., Mahmood, N. A., Umar, A., & Ibrahim, A. D. (2018). Prospects and challenges of workplace diversity in modern day organizations: A critical review. HOLISTICA–Journal of Business and Public Administration9(2), 35-52.

Cloverpop. (2021). Free Diversity And Inclusion White Paper: Hacking Diversity With Inclusive Decision Making From Cloverpop. Cloverpop. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www.cloverpop.com/hacking-diversity-with-inclusive-decision-making-white-paper.

Deliotte. (2021). Annual Report. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/press-releases/inclusion-survey.html.

Dyer, S., & Hurd, F. (2018). Equality as a threshold conception: challenging future manager’s perceptions. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal.

Earnshaw, J. (2003). Management of Diversity in the UK—the Legal and Psychological Implications. Individual Diversity and Psychology in Organizations, 79.

Graham, A., & Wright, A. (2021). Diversity Management: Perspectives of a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace. Findings from the ICT sector.

Grissom, A. R. (2018). The alert collector: Workplace diversity and inclusion. Reference & User Services Quarterly57(4), 243-247.

Jaffé, M. E., Rudert, S. C., & Greifeneder, R. (2019). You should go for diversity, but I’d rather stay with similar others: Social distance modulates the preference for diversity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology85, 103881.

MNT. (2021). What are the psychological effects of gender inequality? Medicalnewstoday.com. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/psychological-effects-of-gender-inequality#trauma-exposure.

Monks, K. (2007). The business impact of equality and diversity. The international evidence. The Equality Authority, Dublin.

O’Donovan, D. (2018). Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace. In Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management (pp. 73-108). Springer, Cham.

Petty, L. (2020). The Benefits of Equality and Diversity in the Workplace. The Hub | High Speed Training. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/equality-diversity-benefits-workplace/.

Savikko, A., Lanne, M., Spak, F., & Hensing, G. (2008). No higher risk of problem drinking or mental illness for women in male-dominated occupations. Substance use & misuse43(8-9), 1151-1169.

Statista. (2021). Topic: Gender inequality in the UK. Statista. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www.statista.com/topics/5273/gender-inequality-in-the-uk/#dossierKeyfigures.

Statista. (2022). Workplace sexual harassment in the UK 2019 | Statista. Statista. Retrieved January 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1096724/workplace-sexual-harassment-uk/.

Stewart, N. (2021). Behaviours that support Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work | Newman Stewart. Newman Stewart. Retrieved January 2022, from https://newmanstewart.co.uk/news/2018/08/behaviours-that-support-equality-diversity-and-inclusion-at-work/184.

Svedberg, P., Bildt, C., Lindelöw, M., & Alexanderson, K. (2009). Self‐reported Health among Employees in Relation to Sex Segregation at Work Sites. Journal of Occupational Health51(3), 223-231.

Velasco, M., & Sansone, C. (2019). Resistance to diversity and inclusion change initiatives: Strategies for transformational leaders. Organization Development Journal37(3), 9-20.

Yennifer. (2020). Women Aren’t Promoted Because Managers Underestimate Their Potential. Yale Insights. Retrieved January 2022, from https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/women-arent-promoted-because-managers-underestimate-their-potential#:~:text=Specifically%2C%20Shue%20and%20her%20colleagues,of%20the%20gap%20in%20promotions.


Figure 2- The Equality-Diversity Value Chain (Source: Monks, 2007)


Equality refers to ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities and rights, regardless of their characteristics or backgrounds. Diversity encompasses recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences among individuals, including but not limited to race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

Promoting equality and diversity fosters a more inclusive work environment, leading to increased employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. It also helps attract and retain talent, enhances creativity and innovation, and contributes to better decision-making and problem-solving.

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