Staff news

Diversity initiative wins prestigious HR award

A programme designed to encourage diversity at Edinburgh has been recognised at the University Human Resources (UHR) 2018 Awards.

Edinburgh team with their University Human Resources (UHR) 2018 Award
Edinburgh team with their UHR 2018 Award

The University established the Playfair Steps initiative to improve equality and diversity in its central Information Technology and Library departments.

The programme has resulted in a 300 per cent increase in women at directorship level, and an increase of more than 30 per cent at Grade 9 level.

Female management

The Playfair Steps initiative was selected as the winner of the Equality and Diversity award by a panel of judges, who praised it for “myth-busting” and achieving a “quantifiable increase in female management”.

Award winners were revealed at the gala dinner at the UHR annual conference in Bristol.

UHR’s annual awards recognise inspiring and transformational work in Human Resources by institutions in the UK and Eire.

This is a great entry from a large IT department. The judges were impressed by the significant number of staff involved, and the quantifiable increase in female management that has resulted from this work.

Helen ScottExecutive Director, UHR

Programme background

The Playfair Steps initiative began life as a gender equality survey in 2015.

In IT, men outnumber women by a ratio of more than 2:1, and the University was keen to explore ways to diversify its workforce.

However, the scope of the programme has broadened, exploring how a wide range of factors affect a person’s workplace experience, from gender to religion, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and parental status.

The University invited 10 academics from fields including gender studies and social policy to present and make recommendations to Information Services Group staff. As well as the lecture series, a Playfair Steps Equality Working Group was set up to allow staff to voice equality and diversity issues that should be addressed.

All staff involved in recruitment must now undertake unconscious bias training.

Between October 2016 and February 2017, more than 44.5 per cent of staff participated in some form of equality and diversity training.

What we’re trying to do is to increase the diversity of people in the organisation, but also to encourage the organisation to understand how diversity in the workforce makes a difference to the way we work, and what we’re doing.

Melissa HightonDirector of Learning, Teaching and Web Services

Related links

UHR 2018 Awards

Learning, Teaching and Web Services