Our strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion

Our 2021-2030 strategic plan objectives aim to ensure that by 2030 more archaeologists will want their professionalism recognised. A larger, more diverse and inclusive profession will offer a wider range of expertise and better reflect its relevance to society.

CIfA's policy statement on equal opportunities in archaeology

Equal opportunities are an issue integral to every aspect of archaeological work. It is essential that all people are treated equally and not disadvantaged by prejudices or bias. Principle 5 of the Code of conduct states that any member shall respect the aspirations of employees, colleagues and helpers with regard to all matters relating to issues of equality of opportunity and employment, including but not limited to career development, health and safety, and terms and conditions of employment.

The Institute's full policy statement provides more guidance for members of the Institute about how best to comply with the Code and to lead by example.

All professional archaeologists should be aware of their legal obligations or legal requirements, but inclusion should be about a lot more than legal compliance.

Ethical obligations and changing our culture

We all categorise the world around us – we make sense of it by identifying people, things, and situations, and forming judgements. But this can lead to unconscious bias, where we may make favourable decisions about others based on them being like us or unfavourable decision because they are unlike us, for example due to socio-economic background, gender or belief.  Treating people fairly is at the heart of our approach.

People perform better when their individuality is recognised and they have a sense of belonging, so we should strive to ensure that they are free to work in a way that plays to their strengths. Adopting inclusive workstyles allows people to thrive and be themselves, which invariably results in enhanced performance.

A diverse workforce brings benefits to both the employee and the employer. People in archaeology come from all walks of life and bring with them a diversity of thought, experience and perspective. Meanwhile, the sector gains a diverse workforce of highly respected employees who are skilled at what they do – and will often show greater engagement and commitment to a good employer. Inclusive cultures where people are valued for who they are will help us achieve a profession that is diverse.

The business case for equality and diversity

The benefits

  • Efficiency savings through improved staff retention
  • A wider pool of talent available from underrepresented groups
  • Improved working relationships based on respect for everyone’s differences

The risks

  • The cost of neglecting obligations under the Equality Act can be significant. If an employee implements the employment tribunal process, the cost of the tribunal, preparation of the case, management of the process, legal fees, and internal disciplinary and grievance procedures can add up. Tribunal awards in the UK related to disability, for example, averaged at £27K in 2019-20, reaching up to a maximum of £266K, however that excludes the cost of the management and legal time (source Tribunal Statistics Quarterly: April to June 2020).
  • A company’s investment is easily lost when an employee leaves, along with the investment in their training, intellectual capital, corporate and client knowledge. There are also the replacement hiring costs and loss of productivity if there is low morale due to a high-turnover of staff – all resulting in the organisation not being able to deliver its services properly.

Pan-sectoral strategy on equality and diversity in archaeology

CIfA is working with the Industry Working Group (an existing collaboration between FAME, Prospect and CIfA) to jointly develop a pan-sectoral strategy on equality and diversity in archaeology. This would be owned by all three organisations and would commit each to jointly working on specific actions. This is important as the organisations have different perspectives on the issues to be addressed, reflecting their different remits, but share a common interest in, and commitment to, ensuring that our profession is a safe, healthy and respectful environment for all who work in it.

To start this process, FAME, Prospect and CIfA have issued a joint statement setting out their commitment to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in archaeology.