UK companies need to present diversity data and sustainability strategies
By Freja Nilsson
Once again, we have ranked the websites of the UK's 200 largest companies. The trend of UK companies not performing on the same level as their European peers remains. The companies struggle when it comes to providing sufficient Sustainability and Careers information.
In this year's Webranking edition, UK companies have, on average, received 37.7 points which is quite low compared with the European average of 44 points. The last time the UK companeis received an average score above 40 points was in 2018-2019.
There is no doubt that UK companies struggle to keep up with both changing and increasing expectations of their corporate communication.
When summarising the UK results, we found that:
Sustainability information remains one of the biggest challenges. Just43% of the companies provide an explanation of the sustainability strategy on their website.
UK companies struggle when it comes to providing sufficient Careers information. Information about career progression opportunities and coaching and mentorship are often missing.
The companies perform well when it comes to explaining their overall diversity approach but fall behind in providing diversity data, as only 4% provide this.
Companies fail to show that ESG is a strategic priority
UK companies generally don't meet stakeholder expectations when it comes to providing sustainability information. The companies have, on average, fulfiled 37% of the criteria which compares with the European average of 45%. The companies fall behind when it comes to presenting sustainability policies (especially the sustainability strategy) and information about stakeholders and materiality.
We see that the UK companies don't live up to the expectations when it comes to providing the most essential sustainability information, a sustainability strategy. A sustainability or corporate responsibility strategy is a prioritised set of actions. It provides an agreed framework to focus investment and drive performance, as well as engage internal and external stakeholders. Just 43% of the companies provide an explanation of the sustainability strategy on their website, which compares with 60% of the European companies.
As mentioned earlier in this article, sustainability is becoming increasingly important for all stakeholder groups, from investors to jobseekers. It is of utmost importance for companies to show that sustainability is a strategic priority.
RioTinto, a mineral and metal mining company, provide a detailed sustainability approach. The sustainability framework contains clear priorities, and it is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Stakeholders and materiality
The stakeholder information should also be complemented by a materiality analysis, which currently only 29 of the 200 ranked companies provide.
The most important ESG topics for your company should be clearly stated and preferably be complemented by a matrix visualising the information, making it easier to comprehend.
British American Tobaccoprovide both thorough information about their materiality assessment process and the prioritised focus areas.
Information about career progression is missing
In today's changing landscape, it is essential for employers to position themselves as engaging employers offering what jobseekers expect.
The UK companies especially miss to include information about how their employees' careers could progress while working at their companies. Only 20% of the ranked companies offer information about this, even though it is something that we see gaining increased importance in our yearly Careers Survey.
Jobseekers want to know if there are possibilities for them to, for example, switch roles or departments within the company. Progressive career growth often leads to higher salaries, new professional connections, and more opportunities and gratification. Because of this, it is important to inform jobseekers if and how you offer this. They also want to see that the company will support them in achieving their career goals.
In addition to presenting career progression opportunities, jobseekers want to know that you offer support in the form of coaching or mentorship programmes. Both coaching and mentoring are an approach to management and a set of skills to nurture staff and deliver results. Offering a mentor or coach for your employees will help them achieve their goals and will show potential jobseekers that you are a supportive employer.
Unilever present a very informative section clearly explaining their benefits and approach to well-being and learning. They explain that they understand that employees' expectations of their careers are changing and that "careers are becoming more fluid and that career development will take different forms in the future", which shows that they are a modern employer. Concrete examples are being provided of different learning programmes and initiatives, as well as information about mentoring opportunities.
Detailed approaches to diversity but data is missing
UK companies generally perform well when it comes to providing their approach to diversity and equality. Most companies have realised that it is essential to show that they are a diverse employer in order to attract talent. The companies perform slightly better than the European average. 71% of the ranked companies present their diversity and equal opportunities approach in the Careers section.
However, most UK companies fall behind when it comes to presenting updated diversity data complementing their more general diversity approach. Only 4% of the companies provide this, which leaves some room for concern. When asking the respondents of our yearly Careers survey how important they found diversity data, 80% found this important. There is clearly some discrepancy between what the companies offer and what the jobseekers expect.
Intermediate Capital Group present a detailed diversity and inclusion page, including updated data on, for example, the percentage of women in senior positions. The information is complemented by a video of their Chief People and External Affairs officer, providing additional data from Q1 2022. A wide range of employee networks is also presented, together with short films with more information.
This year, we see a new UK top performer inCoca-Cola HBC. They have climbed from fifth to first place, improving the total score by 6.1 points, and they are now close to fulfilling the recommended benchmark of 60 points.
Coca-Cola HBC perform well when it comes toPress and Media,SustainabilityandCareers. The Careers section offers a detailedlearning and developmentsection, including data on how many employees have participated in talent acceleration programs. Information about coaching and mentoring is also provided.
BPcome second, just as they did last year, and they have improved the total score slightly (by 2.2 points). Like in previous years, BP offer impressiveSustainability information, including anonline summary of the sustainability report.
Shellwere the UK top performer last year but have now dropped two placements, the total score has dipped by 1.9 points. Since the UK top performers are very close in score, this was enough to lose the top placement. Still, Shell perform relatively well, especially when it comes to providing reporting-related information. For example, detailed financial data is presented, divided by segment.
Kerry Group is the UK company that have improved the score most compared to last year, the total score has improved by 11 points. This has resulted in them rising from 147th to 39th place. Very well done!