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March 21, 2024, by brzms6

Overcoming barriers in the world of work

By Amrina Kaur, Employability Officer

In today’s dynamic job market, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are not just buzzwords but essential principles for fostering a fair and thriving workplace. However, despite progress, individuals from diverse backgrounds often encounter unique challenges as they navigate their careers, and achieving true inclusivity can be easier said than done. From microaggressions to imposter syndrome and underrepresentation, there’s a variety of obstacles that individuals from various backgrounds may encounter. Let’s break them down and explore practical strategies for overcoming them.


Microaggressions, though subtle, can have a profound impact on your sense of belonging and self-esteem in professional settings. When faced with such instances, it is important to assertively address them, either through direct communication or by seeking appropriate channels of resolution. Growing a supportive network of peers can assist in mitigating the effects of such encounters.

Imposter syndrome 

Imposter syndrome, characterised by feelings of inadequacy despite evident accomplishments, is an established challenge among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Counteracting this phenomenon requires cultivating self-awareness and acknowledging one’s inherent value. Seek out mentorship opportunities and engage in reflective practices to bolster confidence and overcome self-doubt.

Underrepresentation: advocating for inclusion

Despite progress, underrepresentation persists in many sectors of the workforce. As advocates for diversity and inclusion, it is important for us to champion equitable practices within our respective organisations. By fostering supportive alliances and actively participating in initiatives promoting diversity, we can work towards dismantling systemic barriers and fostering inclusive environments.

Empowering solutions

Despite these challenges, there are proactive steps individuals can take to navigate and overcome obstacles in their careers:

Seek mentorship and build a support network: Connect with mentors and like-minded individuals who understand your unique experiences and challenges. Affinity groups and employee resource networks offer invaluable support and empowerment.

Advocate for inclusive policies: Be a catalyst for change within your organisation. Speak up for inclusive hiring practices, diversity training, and policies that promote equity and belonging.

Embrace self-awareness and confidence building: Combat imposter syndrome by recognising your worth and celebrating your achievements. Practice confidence-building exercises and mindfulness to strengthen self-esteem.

Networking and seeking support: Build meaningful connections with individuals who value diversity. Seek support from mentors, allies, and support groups within your workplace or professional network.

Prioritise self-care: Maintain your well-being amidst workplace challenges by practising self-care. Set boundaries, practice mindfulness, and engage in activities that rejuvenate your energy.

Advocacy and allyship: Use your voice to advocate for inclusivity and equity. Be an ally to marginalised colleagues by actively listening, amplifying their voices, and challenging discriminatory behaviours.

Utilise the Career and Employability Service and seek education: Take advantage of our career appointments for personalised guidance. Educate yourself on your rights, company policies, and available resources for diversity and inclusion.

By implementing these strategies, you can navigate workplace diversity with confidence and resilience. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Together, we can create workplaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to succeed.

As we strive towards a more equitable and inclusive workforce, it’s essential to recognise and address the unique challenges faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds. By fostering a culture of understanding, empathy, and respect, we can create environments where everyone feels valued and empowered to succeed. Together, let’s continue to break down barriers and build a more inclusive future for all.

If you’re unsure how to overcome a challenge in the workplace, book an appointment with a careers adviser for personalised guidance and support.

Posted in Equality and inclusivity