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Have you updated your diversity data recently?

Update diversity data in ESS

July is Diversity Data Month! Help us to ensure that the University is an inclusive workplace by providing your up-to-date diversity information.

Why are we asking you to do this?

We want the University of Reading to be an inclusive environment where employees from all groups and backgrounds are treated fairly and have access to opportunities which encourage a diverse workplace. 

In order to get a better understanding of diversity and representation across our organisation, which will help us to achieve equality in our policies and processes, we are asking all employees to update their confidential diversity information through Employee Self Service (ESS). 

There are many specific drivers for collecting this information. One coming up is that is that the overall percentage figures across the university in the sexual orientation categories discussed below will inform our Stonewall Workplace Equality Index submission in September. For these figures to be meaningful we need a data completion rate (by both straight and gay staff) that is as high as possible across the University.

The categories of diversity information which can be updated in ESS under the Personal tab (select sensitive information) are:

  • self-certified disability
  • ethnic origin
  • religion
  • sexual orientation

We realise that some people might feel uncomfortable about providing personal information. We want to assure you that this information will be held in strict confidence and used for anonymous diversity monitoring and analysis only. 


  • no individuals will be identifiable from the data
  • a very small number of data specialists within HR will have access to the information
  • providing your diversity data will never lead to further contact from anyone at the University
  • the systems and safeguards to safely store and analyse the data at the University are in line with the Data Protection Act 1998

If you decide that you don’t want to provide diversity information in a particular category, then you can indicate this by clicking on the relevant option provided.  And even ticking “Prefer not to say” counts for us as a positive return!

Recent changes to the sexual orientation options in ESS

Following consultation with the LGBT Network and in line with recommendations from Stonewall, HR Systems have yesterday made the following changes at the request of the Diversity and Inclusion team:

  • renamed the previous ‘Heterosexual’ option to ‘Heterosexual/straight’ – note that the record for employees who have previously identified as heterosexual has been changed to ‘heterosexual/straight’ automatically, but of course you can go on to ESS now and override this if you want
  • introduced four new entries as follows:

- Gay man

- Gay woman/lesbian

- Other

- Prefer not to say

  • removed two of the existing entries

- Homosexual

- Not Specified

If you have previously indicated your sexual orientation using either of these last two categories which have now been removed. On advice from the LGBT Network these records have now been erased, and we would be grateful if you could revisit ESS and indicate your sexual orientation using the new categories we have introduced.

To emphasis, we have made the above changes following consultation with the LGBT Plus Staff Network, and these changes bring our data monitoring approach for sexual orientation in line with Stonewall and Equality Challenge Unit recommendations for best practice. This change also means that we are now using the same monitoring options as the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).  

Please help us to understand the diversity of our workplace and take a couple of minutes to update your personal diversity information by clicking on ESS

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