A crossfaith panel composed of representatives from each of Britain’s major monotheistic faiths celebrated the success and further potential benefits of embracing religion in the workplace at the launch event for IIFL on Tuesday, 28th November 2023.
The panel featured Dr Solomon Osagie, a Christian from the Elim Pentecostal Church; Khuzema Khanbhai, a Muslim from the Dawoodi Bohra branch; and Angus Taylor, a Jew from the Modern Orthodoxy movement. Discussing the role that faith plays in their working lives, the panellists shared their experiences on the influence of their own religions on their attitudes towards work and their work colleagues.
Angus Taylor, who teaches Law at the University of Cambridge, said:
“Not only should employers accommodate religious practices as a matter of principle; the research of the Institute shows it is in their clear business interests to do so. People of faith are happier, more resilient, and more trusting of their colleagues, attributes which inevitably translate into higher productivity at work.
It is unsurprising that people of faith have greater job satisfaction than those without. People of faith have lower expectations, deriving their meaning from other sources; people without faith go searching for a meaning that work is unable to provide.”
Khuzema Khanbhai, who owns an import-export business, commented on his own experiences as a business owner:
“Sharing a celebration of faith in the workplace means we are able to create a more inclusive environment and encourage stronger team-building. In Islam, we live by a code of ethics about respecting and trusting one another that translates very well into the world of work.
In my community especially, we live by the attitude that, it’s not that you’ve “got” to go to work, but you “get” to go to work.”
Dr Solomon Osagie, a General Counsel for a UK bank, spoke of the need for businesses to champion faith:
“Embracing faith would be a great boon to employers – the influence of faith on work performance is evident, and integral to our working lives. As a society, we have not done enough to promote integration and inclusion along lines of faith.
Faith has a positive impact on peoples’ decision-making, encouraging a positive approach to life and other people.”
The event launched the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL), a research forum examining the role that faith and religious belief plays in the lives of people in the UK, whether at work, at home, or in the community.
For any further information or commentary on the report, please contact Dr Rakib Ehsan, senior research associate. For further information on IIFL, the event or a comment from the panellists, please contact Dr Jake Scott, secretary for the Institute.
Dr Rakib Ehsan
+44 (0) 7878 339 856
Dr Jake Scott
+44 (0) 7490 190 652
Notes for editors:
- The report (available here) is based on a nationally-representative survey conducted by TechneUK, a British Polling Council member.
Fieldwork for the survey took place between the 29th of September and the 8th of October 2023.
- 2,004 UK adults were surveyed across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Respondents were surveyed on various aspects of their approach and attitude to work. Of those who say their religious background is important to their personal identity:
- 73% say that their employer respects their religious beliefs and accommodates their religious practices. Only 3% do not.
- 77% say they trust their colleagues, compared to 59% of atheists.
- 77% say they are satisfied with their job, compared to 50% of atheists.
- 35% say they are optimistic about the future of the UK economy, compared to 16% of atheists.
- Dr Rakib Ehsan is a Sunni Muslim from Luton, and the senior research associate for IIFL.
- Dr Jake Scott is an Anglican Christian from Rugby, and the secretary for IIFL.
- Angus Taylor is a Modern Orthodox Jew from London, and teaches Tort Law at the University of Cambridge.
- Khuzema Khanbhai is a Dawoodi Bohra Muslim from Manchester, and runs an import-export business.
- Dr Solomon Osagie is an Elim Pentecostal Christian from Kent, and is a General Counsel at a UK bank.