Diversity is often lambasted for being more about public relations than profit, but more than nine out of 10 UK companies now say they have a clear business case for equal opportunity policies.
The fifth annual Race for Opportunity benchmarking report, which tracks the impact of diversity on the bottom line of some of the UK’s biggest businesses, reveals that 91% of public and private sector bodies have pinpointed a clear business case for diversity policies, compared to 78% in 2004.
Of the 113 private and public bodies benchmarked this year, 40 attributed an estimated 13.3bn in profits to the impact of their activities on race.
Royal Mail chief Allan Leighton, chairman of Race for Opportunity, said business needed to understand that if it is seen as attractive to ethnic minorites, it will make more money.
“The ethnic minority population in the UK has an annual disposable income spending power of £32bn,” he said.
“Cater effectively to this sector and you will see rewards on the bottom line.”
Lloyds TSB Group was the firm with the best diversity policies in the UK, and the Army was the top public sector performer for the fifth year running.
Colonel David Brown, who has responsibility for all employment policy in the Army, said its success stemmed from making diversity a major keystone in HR policy.
“We have worked out why as an organisation we need to embrace diversity,” he told Personnel Today. “That has allowed us to create policies which focus our energies, but also to get out and tell people the reasons why diversity is important.”