Hiring for diversity has always been the right thing to do but the positive business effects are becoming more apparent.

When speaking about the importance of diversity in his business, Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director at Accenture remarks,

“At Accenture, we are extremely passionate about supporting diversity. It is something we live and breathe.

Gender diversity is vital. More than half the people we hire every year from the graduate pool are women and we have to make sure we make the most of that [talent pool] as a country and that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip.”

With the recent requirement for large UK organisations to publish any gender pay discrepancies, more and more organisations are understanding the need to invest in D&I initiatives. Top talent want to work for companies that value diversity. In a 2017 PwC survey, over 60% of female respondents looked at the diversity of a company’s leadership team when deciding to take a job offer. Failing to adopt policies that guarantee diversity, limits the talent pool available to a company.

Companies must go beyond gender however, and encourage a culture of diversity, factoring in racial, ethnic, sexuality and socio-economic differences.

According to Alastair;

“Our workforce is made up of 60 or so nationalities. My view is simply that, when people get up in the morning and come to work, they should not feel they have to hide anything. They should be who they are, be as good as they can be and enjoy it. We want to make the workplace here as natural as possible for everyone.”

Developing a diverse workforce, enable global companies like Accenture, to better understand the varied customers they serve and best represent their needs.  Companies performing highest on racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry averages. A diverse workforce give companies the opportunity to get to heart of their clients and offer them more tailored solutions. A homogeneous workforce cannot foster the same creativity and innovation that a heterogeneous team with different outlooks can.

In order to attract and retain top talent, companies must invest in D&I initiatives to succeed in today’s business environment. From equal opportunities policies to inclusion programmes, companies must act now to make this diverse culture the norm.

The value of diversity goes beyond improving an employer’s brand and public image, it benefits a company’s bottom line. It is this aspect that needs to be promoted, to further push the case for diversity.