Business management

Diversity simply makes business sense

Full representation of women and minority groups in the workplace would have huge benefits for business and the economy.

But the principles and philosophy have to be supported and driven by those at the top of the business, as seen at RBS Group: “Becoming an inclusive bank is not an optional extra for us,” says chief executive Ross McEwan. “We will only achieve our ambition to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy if we understand the needs of all our people and our customers. Quite simply, if we’re a more inclusive place to work, great people will want to work here and more customers will want to bank with us – so it’s a business imperative.”

Gender diversity

Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors, and unleashing the full potential of women in the labour market could be worth £23bn a year to the UK economy. Furthermore, 77,000 additional jobs were created in 2015 by female entrepreneurs and 85% of female wealth in the UK comes from earning and business ownership.

Ethnic diversity

A rich source of untapped potential, BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people fill just 6% of top management positions, despite representing 12.5% of the UK population. A full representation of BAME individuals would generate £24bn to the UK. A FTSE 100 diversity leader has been quoted as saying: “On BAME, we feel self-conscious and a bit shameful; we have a huge amount to do to get our house in order.”

LGBT and disability diversity

Melville used her webinar to also highlight how we must include people from the LGBT and disabled communities, both of which can provide rich rewards for businesses. It is estimated that around 3% to 6% of people in the UK are lesbian, gay or bisexual, while 1% of the population experiences some kind of gender dysphoria. The pink pound, as it is colloquially known, is worth £6bn a year.

Meanwhile, statistics from the bank’s central inclusion team show that 83% of disabled people have reported walking away from an inaccessible service provider – and when you consider one in four Europeans has a family member with a disability, this results in a huge market for neglected potential. The bank has worked with the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to produce its first bank credit card for people with sight loss: “The new card shows the bank’s willingness to listen to its customers and take action to deliver real and usable solutions,” said the RNIB.

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