We’re striving to build a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive culture is our priority. At M&S, you are welcome for who you are.
Where we are
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made, but recognise we have more work to do. As of March 23, we were one of the first FTSE250 businesses to have a women majority board. And we're incredibly lucky to have over 7,000 passionate colleagues in our I&D Networks helping us to shape our plans and measure our progress. We continue to listen to our colleagues as we move forward.
Where we're going
We know that targets are only as valuable as the plans in place to reach them and the action we take to make them a reality. By setting bold goals and holding ourselves accountable, we hope to galvanise every corner of our business into making I&D a priority. For example, we’re committed to increasing women’s representation to at least 50% and ethnic minority representation to 15% in our senior management by 2025.
Our recent milestones
While we're fully focused on the work we still need to do, our teams have contributed to some important moments that we're really proud of.
Our RISE (Recognising In-store Experience) programme is helping to promote diverse talent already within our business.
Straight to Stuart
Our employee suggestion scheme allows employees to suggest business ideas straight to our CEO, Stuart Machin. Over 10,000 ideas have been generated so far and we implemented more than 200 of these in 2022/23.
We’ve been partnering with the 30% Club, an organisation committed to increasing representation of women on UK boards. Most recently, we’ve been opening up our schemes to all underrepresented groups.
By our people, for our people, the M&S networks are a great way to get to meet new colleagues, find support and celebrate. However you identify, our networks are open and welcoming to all, including champions and supporters.
Open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community and spectrum (and their allies), we promote equality, celebrate inclusivity and diversity, and encourage everyone to be themselves - whatever their sexual or gender identity.
This is a network driven by personal experiences, with the purpose of ensuring that anyone in the M&S family affected by Cancer feels supported and has access to the information they need.
Health & Wellbeing Network
This network helps colleagues manage their own mental and physical health. We also support people with disabilities or health conditions throughout M&S. We're a safe place to share your personal journey, coping strategies and top tips.
Family & Carers Network
This group represents the different types of families that exist. We act as a support network and sounding board for ideas which help our colleagues as parents or carers. We also run an interactive blog, where you can post yourself or hear about others' experiences.
This is our newest forum. Here, our colleagues can share their concerns, as well as interesting facts and articles. Our aim is to help everyone feel comfortable talking openly about the menopause - providing a listening ear and finding positives in the experience.
Gender Equality Network
This group is focused on helping to create a workplace where gender-related challenges are addressed. They raise awareness of common barriers faced and the support available. They also challenge the business to act and empower individuals to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities.
Culture & Heritage Network
Celebrating all faiths, cultures and ethnicities, this group promotes racial and religious equality. We create space to discuss, challenge and take action. And we host exclusive events - including Black History Month - to remember the past, promote the present and build for the future.
Armed Forces Network
A community of ex-Forces personnel, we welcome anyone who's interested in M&S's commitment to The Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. We aim to raise awareness of veterans in our workplace and support business-wide activities relating to the Armed Forces community.
We partner with other organisations who are experts in specific areas of inclusion and diversity to ensure what we offer to our colleagues reflects the needs and interests of the communities we serve.
We know how much the mental health of young people matters to our customers and colleagues. We’re working together with the charity Young Minds to make a big difference in supporting young people and the adults in their life with practical guidance to prevent mental health struggles reaching crisis point.
The 30% club
30% club is a global campaign to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels. We’ve been part of their 30% Club Cross Business Mentoring Programme since it began in 2014, and this year have over 30 mentees and 30 mentors taking part to develop a diverse pipeline of M&S leaders.
We're a Disability Confident Employer
We strive to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace. We’re recognised as a Disability Confident Employer (Level 2). This assesses how we recruit and develop our people, through the lens of disability.
Marks & Start
Marks & Start is our programme that provides training and employability skills to people facing barriers to employment. This is an important part of supporting under-represented groups into work and help them progress to senior roles.
The Albert Kenny Trust
We’ve been working with the AKT since 2019, donating £15,000 via sales of our pride-inspired T-shirts, and more than £30,000 since launching through Sparks. They’re one of our official Sparks charity partners – so customers can support them in providing safe homes, advice and better futures for LGBTQ+ and young people.
Business in the community race at work charter
We support the business in the community race at work charter’s five calls to action to ensure ethnic minority colleagues are represented at all levels within a business. These include appointing an Executive Sponsor for race, committing at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying, and taking actions that support the career progression of our ethic minority colleagues.
Armed Forces Covenant (Gold Status)
This is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve, or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. We support their pledges including:
- Promoting the fact that we are an armed forces friendly organisation by effectively publicising the Covenant
- Seeking to support the employment of service leavers and veterans young and old
- Seeking to support our colleagues who choose to be members of the Reserve forces
- Supporting the Royal British Legion's nationwide Poppy Appeal in November
SEO/London - Sponsors for educational opportunity
We're on a mission to embrace diversity, and whilst we're proud of the progress we've made, there's more to be done. So, we've enlisted the help of SEO/London, who engage with a gender-balanced, ethnically diverse mix of candidates and deliver superior educational training/mentoring support to young people from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds.
We're a carers confident employer
We're actively listening to what matters to our colleagues, as we continue to build our family time policies. We've successfully achieved our Carers Confident Level 1 certificate, demonstrating that we will support all carers across our business. It also shows our understanding of the legal rights of carers at M&S, and helps colleagues recognise themselves as carers, so we can provide practical support and assist them in combining their work and caring responsibilities.
In our mission to attract more disabled candidates, we've enlisted the help of Evenbreak, whose mission is ensuring disabled people have the same opportunities and choices to enter, progress and thrive in the world of work as non-disabled people. We're passionate about being an inclusive place to work, and this partnership helps us attract more disabled candidates.
myGwork is the global business community for LGBTQ+ professionals, graduates, inclusive employers, and advocates for workplace equality. They offer a safe space for individuals to network with members of the LGBTQ+ community. We've partnered with myGwork to ensure that we're attracting more LGBTQ+ candidates and ensure all LGBTQ+ people feel they belong here.
End of Partners and programmes slider carousel
Marks & Start
Marks & Start is our programme that provides training and employability skills to people facing barriers to employment. This is an important part of supporting under-represented groups into work, helping them progress to senior roles.
We welcome applications from refugees and offer a wide range of vacancies across the UK. We recognise the challenges that refugees can face when trying to find work. That's one of the reasons why we provide the opportunities as well as the support that is needed to help you settle into your role with us.
Embedding digital inclusion into M&S web platforms
Dilesh, Product Manager for M&S Web platforms, and Emma, Senior Engineer, emphasize the importance of accessibility in their roles. For M&S, accessibility ensures inclusivity for all users. Citing W3C, businesses with an accessibility focus are more innovative and better poised for success.
We spoke to Assistant Footwear Designer, Charlotte, about her Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD diagnoses, the benefits it brings to her role and how the Buddy & Ability network is helping her to share who she really is.