Recognizing all religious beliefs is key to the future of work



Kathryn Wright – Culham St Gabriel’s Trust

September 16, 2021





New research highlights the importance of religious and non-religious worldviews in the UK workplace

Most employees (63%) think it’s important to understand others’ beliefs in the workplace, a new study of UK adults has found. This compares to 61% of all adults who agreed with the statement, suggesting that employees are more likely to value an understanding of religious and non-religious worldviews in an increasingly globalized.

The research, conducted among 2,000 adults and commissioned by education charity Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, also found that more than two-thirds (67%) of employees say that knowing themselves or understanding their own beliefs are important to them, compared to 64% of all UK adults surveyed.

Participants were then asked about the importance of understanding worldviews in various contexts. Most UK adults agreed that understanding the beliefs of others is important for relationships with friends and family (65%), as well as in local communities (64%) and schools (65%).

The research also found that almost two-thirds (64%) of adults see religious education as an important part of the school curriculum, with 71% agreeing that RE should reflect the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in the UK today. today.

Key research findings include:

  • Around two-thirds of UK adults say it is important to understand other people’s beliefs in at least four contexts:
    • In everyday life (69%)
    • In relationships with friends and family (65%)
    • At school (65%)
    • In local communities (64%)
    • At work (61%)
  • Two-thirds (64%) of UK adults believe it is important for them to understand their own beliefs, while more than half (57%) agree that understanding has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of the adult population in the UK think it is important for RE to be part of the school curriculum today
  • Two-thirds (65%) of respondents agree RE has an impact on people’s ability to understand themselves in wider society
  • 71% said the ER should reflect the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in the UK today
  • Regarding religious education, respondents agreed that its role is:
    • To help young people better understand their own beliefs (69%)
    • Promote mutual understanding of different beliefs among young people (71%)
    • Provide young people with the opportunity to learn about others, beliefs, worldviews and cultures (73%)
    • Encourage young people to openly discuss their beliefs with others (69%)
    • To help young people critically assess their own beliefs (65%)
    • To help young people critically assess the beliefs of others (65%)

Kathryn Wright, CEO of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, said: “Over the past fifty years, Britain’s religious and cultural landscape has changed dramatically, with a decline in affiliation with some of the main religious traditions, an increase in others and an increase in non-religious spiritual traditions.

“This, of course, has implications for the UK workplace, with data suggesting that the UK workforce represents a ‘salad bowl’ of different religious and non-religious worldviews.

“As workforce demographics change and globalization increases, this research suggests that employees increasingly recognize the value of understanding religious and non-religious worldviews.

“Major employers are also taking note, with a growing number of companies looking for ways to promote religiously respectful and diverse workplaces. Fortune 100 companies, including Intel, American Airlines, Dell, Facebook and Apple, all scored highly in the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s 2021 assessment for their inclusion of religion as an integral part of their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. As part of this, they will be looking for employees who can understand, respect and communicate with colleagues with different worldviews.

“The research highlights the value of good RE in equipping young people with the knowledge they need to work and interact with others who have different perspectives. It not only plays a vital role in ensuring young people have a balanced education and creating a more cohesive society, but also supports a vibrant economy by preparing employees and future business leaders for the globalized world of work.

Rethinking RE