By Suki Sandhu, CEO & Founder, OUTstanding
You hear the word everywhere. But what does it mean? And why are we all talking about it? Let’s look at a few facts:
- 14% of the working age population is from a BAME background, yet only 8% of all directors are BAME.1
- Women represent 50% of the population yet in 2015, research showed that among chief executives and chairs of FTSE 100 companies, there were more men called John than there were women all together3 (there are 7 women)
- 48% of LGBT+ employees are not out at work.4
As CEO of a diversity focused executive search firm, and an LGBT+ professional membership organisation, I’ve been talking about the benefits of diversity for years. So it’s great to see that it’s now high on the agenda for business leaders and policy makers. In the past two years, both Lord Davies and Sir John Parker have released reviews investigating the representation of female and BAME leaders on boards respectively. They’ve set some challenging diversity targets, and now it’s down to business leaders to deliver against them.
Diversity breeds success
There are many reasons why business leaders need to open their eyes to the benefits of diverse leadership, and a diverse workforce.
Socially and culturally speaking, the benefits speak for themselves. Having diverse teams brings diversity of thought, diversity of approach and different perspectives. And having a diverse leadership at board level reflects the breadth of a company’s ambitions, including those of its customers, employees and communities. But the benefits aren’t just internal. There are strong commercial benefits of diversity, and a powerful business case: