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How diverse is the horticulture industry? New ED&I survey shows need to attract next generation

by , , | 25 Jan 24 | Commercial Landscaping, Domestic Landscaping, Garden Design, Grounds Maintenance, Landscape Architecture, News

diversity survey

The results of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey show that just 12% of the industry is aged between 25-34, with 16-24-year-olds making up a staggeringly low 3%.

Members of the group behind the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the horticulture, arboriculture, landscaping and garden media profession put together the questionnaire to reveal the current start of the industry. The idea behind it is to discover the baseline figures from which they could measure change against going forward.

Most of the industry, based on more than 650 respondents, is British (85%), self-employed (39%), aged between 45 and 54 (36%), female (65%) and heterosexual (81%). An overwhelming majority (91%) consider themselves to not have a disability, according to the definition in the Equality Act 2010.

More than half (56%) are atheists, with no religious beliefs, whilst a third (32%) are Christians. Either 1% or less than 1% of respondents put their religious belief as Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or Jewish. It’s a similar story for ethnic groups within the industry, with most outside of White and British being 1% or less than 1% of respondents.

Those who are gay or lesbian make up just 9% of the industry, whilst 2% are bisexual. Around 5% consider their gender identity to be different from their registered sex at birth.

Following the results of the survey, there will be further promotion of ED&I as a whole for the industry, says Adrian Wickham, vice-chair of the British Association of Landscape Industries. He and the association’s chair, Tessa Johnstone, both spearheaded the charter initially.

“The more awareness we can continue to bring to the wider industry and its members the better,” says Wickham. “Raising awareness and changing the culture around ED&I is significant – identifying all the protected characteristics, not just colour and gender, all of which will help us attract new people into this prosperous and growing industry.”

Last year, the group brought on board Gamiel Yafai, an ED&I consultant and founder of Diversity Marketplace, who Wickham says will lead them and their combined memberships through the journey.

Yafai and his team will be hosting two free, industry-specific ED&I presentations to educate and inspire attendees, as well as to establish some leaders and foster understanding and conviction – to try to remove the ‘fear of getting it wrong’ which Wickham says can be paralysing.

“Via Diversity Marketplace, we will have access to up-to-date information, policies and laws around ED&I and some further stakeholder mapping, to see how we can create some procedural changes. However, more importantly, we will be reviewing our governance and the ability to raise funds for more industry wide diversity and inclusion projects. Over the coming years there will be more engagement before implementation as that in itself may take years as we live in this ever-changing world.”

This year, the Pro Landscaper Business Awards will be recognising the companies taking strides and implementing successful programmes with a new Diversity & Inclusion Strategy category, to help inspire others and showcase practical examples of how businesses are trying to move forward and progress in this area.

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