Management must set example

Companies must do more to harness diversity in their workforces at
management level if they want to flourish in a modern business environment,
according to a major new report.

Harnessing Workforce Diversity to Raise the Bottom Line is the first study
in the UK to identify the link between markets, businesses and workforce as
being at the heart of national competitiveness.

The study of 486 leading British companies finds that promoting diversity
led to reduced recruitment costs, increased employee motivation, higher staff
retention and improved employer image among more than half of the businesses

However, it shows that UK companies are in danger of falling behind
competitors with women making up only 9 per cent of managers and 2 per cent of
senior managers.

Ethnic minorities fare even worse, with only 1.5 per cent of middle managers
and 0.1 per cent of senior managers, according to the study published by Create
(the Centre for Research in Employment and Technology in Europe).

Speaking at the launch of the report, Stephen Green, group chief executive
of HSBC Holdings, said diversity was no longer just an HR issue, but a business
one. "The wider the net you cast, the wider the pool of fish you will
catch," he said.

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