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UK business leaders continue to lack diversity

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A man checks a employment contract with a recruiter
Diversity first: many UK companies now turn to more mindful and intentional hiring | Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko

Out of the 29.5 million working professionals in the United Kingdom, only 14% come from minority or ethnic backgrounds. This disparity is even more apparent when exploring statistics from those in high leadership positions. For years, the UK has had a lack of representation among business leaders, highlighting an underlying diversity issue that is bigger than it seems. With these figureheads shaping the workforce and influencing other economic factors, finding ways to overcome this industry barrier is integral.

If you’re interested in learning how this issue affects the British employment landscape and what the UK is doing to address it, keep reading below.

The British workforce and diversity

The United Kingdom currently ranks within the top 10 most attractive overseas locations for migrant workers. Following the new guidelines brought by Brexit and an increase in post-graduation visas offered, the UK has become one of the most accepting places for foreign employees. However, other statistics show that this growth slows down as it goes up the corporate ladder. The same trends are similarly reflected among Brit workers of non-Caucasian descent.

Looking at the hiring process, almost 7 out of 10 UK companies state they are committed to removing any biases when recruiting. As hopeful as this seems, there is, unfortunately, a lack of a standard measurement system in which these companies can track their progress on this objective. Furthermore, only 26% of these companies evaluate organisational efforts on following equality, diversity, and inclusion goals. When it comes to equal access to training and development for promotion and leadership positions, the UK falters compared to other countries.

On the board and executive committee level of these companies, only 15% of the members self-identified as coming from ethnic or minority backgrounds. Moreso, the majority of these individuals still come from privileged socio-economic environments, highlighting the unlikelihood of working-class employees reaching top positions. This contributes to another issue in which British employees feel disengaged from their work. A lack of incentives and position stagnation have left many workers dissatisfied with their jobs.

The situation may even be more challenging for some populations, such as women. Although the rates of women board members peaked at 40% for the first time in 2023, at least 10 out of the 350 most prominent companies in the UK still had all-male teams. With this in mind, there is clearly still a long way to go. Fortunately, there have been recent concrete steps toward achieving progress.

How is this matter being addressed?

In order to combat the lack of representation, many UK companies now turn to more mindful and intentional hiring. For example, many companies are choosing to use executive recruitment solutions for their workforce. This is because professional recruiters utilise executive search methodologies that can uncover top candidates with outstanding leadership skills. With their unique qualifications, these in-demand recruits often come from a diverse talent pool and have the ability to overcome barriers and work their way up the corporate ladder. This is partly why diverse companies see a 2.5x higher cash flow for each employee.

Several initiatives to encourage companies to diversify, such as an equity index for the transport sector, have also been taking off. These are surveys that ask employees about the state of equality in their workplace. Companies that rank high will be rewarded with a prestigious certificate and a marketing badge, displaying their efforts towards inclusivity. Officials are encouraging other sectors to follow suit. With such an incentive in place, many are hopeful that this will encourage more decision-makers to value diversity in the workplace.

Slow and steady changes are also happening on the board level with the help of The Parker Review. This is an independent framework centred on the diversity of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Index, which is comprised of the biggest companies in the UK. Since the first report was published in 2016, 96 companies out of the FTSE 100 now have at least one director from a minority ethnic group.

All of these signify positive change within the British professional landscape. Although much still needs to be done, these developments are a clear step towards the right direction.

Olivia Miller is a journalist and blogger regularly collaborating with media outlets and writing about entrepreneurship, brand authority and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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What is credit invisibility and how can it affect your finances?

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A woman paying groceries with cash
Only paying in cash will make it difficult to build a credit history and may make you may be credit invisible

If you’ve never taken out a loan or owned a credit card, you may be credit invisible. This means that financial institutions have no records to show that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, which lenders largely rely on to approve you for financial products.

Everybody starts off with invisible credit. However, it can affect you in more ways than one, so it’s important to seek ways to build your credit history as early as you can. Here, we look at some of the effects of credit invisibility on your finances, and offer a few tips to start becoming credit visible.

Access to financial products

Before being approved for any kind of financial product in which you borrow an amount of money, a lender will run a credit check to ensure you have a good credit history. Usually, they’ll be looking to see that you have a high credit score – this would prove that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, and have been able to continuously keep up with repayment obligations.

When you have no credit history for lenders to look at, it can make it harder to qualify for financial products. Your lender will know that you have no prior experience managing borrowed money, and therefore can’t for certain know that you’ll pay any amount back that you borrow. This can be true of all kinds of borrowing options, such as credit cards and loans.

Low limits, high fees

Ultimately, everyone starts off with limited or invisible credit history. So, there will always be a restricted number of financial products available to those looking to borrow for the first time.

However, you may not be offered the best deal if you’re credit invisible. For example, you might be offered a lower limit on a credit card you apply for, or a smaller sum of money on a loan. Plus, you’re likely to face higher interest fees than those who have a visible credit history.

Stagnated progression

Most people will need to borrow money from a lender at some point or another. Usually this will be to pay for a big life expense – you may be buying a house with a mortgage, or purchasing a car on finance. Having limited access to credit options can make goals like these much harder to work towards and obtain. Unfortunately, this could have a knock on effect on your overall quality of life.

Limited access to financial products means that you’ll largely have to rely on your own savings to make any big purchases – this could set you back years when it comes to owning a property.

How can you become credit visible?

Luckily, credit invisibility impacting your quality of life in the long-term is a worst-case scenario. As long as you take a proactive approach towards your finances, you can easily remedy your credit invisibility.

There are plenty of simple steps you can take to become credit visible – you can get on the electoral roll, link your current account to a credit reference agency, or take out a monthly mobile phone contract. These tasks won’t necessarily prove that you can borrow money responsibly, but they’re a good place to start.

Next, you’ll want to look into credit options. Taking out a credit card or loan with a low limit and a high interest rate can seem like an unappealing option, but as long as you can cope with the financial responsibility, it’ll be worth it in the long run. By sticking to your limit and repayment commitments, you’ll prove to your lender that you are a responsible borrower. In turn, this will be reflected on your credit report, and your credit history will begin to take shape. Using such a product responsibly is likely to boost your credit score rather swiftly, which can qualify you for further credit options. You may even find that after a set period of time, your lender is willing to increase your limit and offer a lower rate of interest on your product.

Getting started

Keen to start building your credit history? Do plenty of research on the products available to you before making any long-term commitment. To ensure that you can keep up with the financial responsibility, create a detailed financial plan for the best results.

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Extreme tourism market to reach $91 Billion

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Extreme Tourism Market to Reach $91.0 Billion
Mountain climbing held the highest extreme tourism market share in 2022 | Photo: Connor Moynihan

A recent report published by Allied Market Research forecasts that the global extreme tourism market, valued at $24.2 billion in 2022, could reach $91.0 billion by 2032.

The growing influence of social media is a powerful force surging demand in the extreme tourism market, which attracts travellers those leaving their comfort zones to engage in activities that are considered high-risk, adventurous, or unconventional, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, and rock climbing. Thanks to platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, serving visuals and tutorials breathtaking adventures,

Travelers, inspired by visually appealing content on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, are actively seeking out thrilling experiences to share on their own social networks, driving a sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) among younger demographics, compelling them to actively participate in adrenaline-pumping activities to create their shareable moments.

By adventure type, the mountain climbing segment held the highest market share in 2022, accounting for more the two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue and is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, the skydiving segment is projected to manifest the highest CAGR of 15.2% from 2023 to 2032.

25 to 45 years is the age group holding the highest market share since 2022, according to the report, accounting for more than two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue. The segment is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, by 2032 it will be below 25 years segment that is projected to have the highest CAGR: 15.3%.

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Petrol up 6p a litre so far this year in the UK

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Increase in the cost of wholesale petrol has squeezed the average retailer margin which has now reduced to 8p a litre | Photo: Engin Akyurt

Petrol went up nearly 2p (1.86p) a litre in March from 144.62p to 146.48p meaning the average price at the pumps has increased almost 6p since the start of the year, data from RAC Fuel Watch reveals.

Diesel rose by more than a penny from 154.68p to 155.99p (1.31p), making for three consecutive months of rises. A full 55-litre tank of petrol now costs £80.56 – up by £1 – and diesel £85.79, up 72p.

While the increase in forecourt prices was driven by a 5% rise in the cost of a barrel of oil (from $83.55 to $87.48) in March, a surge in demand for petrol in the United States ahead of the summer has caused the wholesale price of unleaded to rise to match that of diesel. This meant that by the end of March, a litre of unleaded cost 113.3p on the wholesale market, only a penny or so less than diesel at 114.69p. If this remains the case, the gap between the two fuels at the pumps should close from its current 7p in the next few weeks.

RAC Fuel Watch data shows the increase in the cost of wholesale petrol has squeezed the average retailer margin which has now reduced to 8p a litre, in contrast to 10.5p at the beginning of the month. The average margin on diesel is 11p, up by a penny over the same period.

Looking at the big four supermarkets which dominate UK fuel retailing, Tesco had the cheapest unleaded on 31 March at an average of 142.7p across its 511 forecourts, while Asda had the most expensive at 145p. Asda, which for many years prided itself on selling the lowest-priced supermarket fuel, also had a whopping 33p price difference between its cheapest and most expensive petrol. The grocer charged 139.7p at nine forecourts, four of which are in Northern Ireland, and 172.9p at junction 29A of the M1 near Sheffield – a Shell-branded site operated by Asda. Comparatively, Tesco had the smallest difference between its lowest and highest prices at just 6p (138.9p v 144.9p).

At the end of March Sainsbury’s sold the cheapest unleaded at 136.9p at two sites – one in Wolverhampton and one at Dungannon in Northern Ireland. Tesco, however, was charging its lowest price – 138.9p – at 30 separate forecourts. Asda, on the other hand, was only charging its lowest petrol price of 139.7p at nine of its 658 forecourts.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco were tied for the lowest average diesel price across their portfolios at 151.7p and 151.8p. Asda’s gap between its cheapest and most expensive diesel was 35.2p (147.7p at Torquay and two in Northern Ireland v 182.9p at the Shell-branded site it runs near junction 29 of the M1).

Tesco had the smallest gap of just 6p between diesel at its forecourts (148.9p v 154.9p) while Morrisons was also under 10p (145.7p v 154.9p) Sainsbury’s had the cheapest diesel at 142.9p, but this was only available at Andersonstown, near Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Tesco’s lowest price of 148.9p was, however, on offer at 45 of its forecourts.

BP and Shell-operated forecourts also have very large differences between their cheapest and highest fuel prices. For unleaded BP has a gap of 27p (142.9p v 169.9p) and Shell 26p (143.9p v 169.9p) across their 287 and 536 forecourts. For diesel, it is 30p for BP (149.9p v 179.9p) and 26p for Shell (153.9p v 179.9p).

“The rising cost of oil, combined with the pound still only being worth a meagre $1.3, has led to another month of misery at the pumps with the price of petrol going up 2p a litre. Sadly, this means the average price of petrol has gone up nearly 6p so far this year,” says RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

“The data also reveals that Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons only offer their cheapest prices at one or two stores whereas Tesco offers it at around 30 forecourts, albeit at a slightly higher cost. Its customers also have the comfort of knowing that there’s only 6p difference between its lowest and highest prices.

“Sadly, Asda appears not to be the force it once was in fuel retailing. Gone are the days when it used to announce big headline-grabbing pump price cuts when wholesale prices fell, along with a promise at the time that drivers would never pay more than a certain low price at any of its forecourts.

“On a more positive note, it’s good to see the average retailer margin on petrol come down from 10.5p a litre at the start of March to under 8p. While the cause is most likely to be the increase in the wholesale price of petrol, it could also be due to the CMA again raising concerns about higher retailer margins very publicly just last week.”

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