“No company can afford to let diversity and inclusion slip down the priority list in these uncertain times.”
The sobering warning is one a many Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will give while opening day-two of its first virtual Diversity & Inclusion Conference this morning.
Making the economic case for how diversity and inclusion can help the UK’s economic recovery, he will urge firms to join Change the Race Ratio – a CBI-led campaign to accelerate racial and ethnic participation at the top of UK companies.
Announcing new 20 signatories – including Sainsbury’s, Pennon, Halma, Costain and Centrica – Lord Bilimoria will reveal a total of 55 organisations have now signed up since the campaign launched last month. He will call on more companies to step up, setting an example to others as a “driver of national ambition and progress”.
Change the Race Ratio
Commenting on Change the Race Ratio, Lord Bilimoria, says: “We’re still so far behind – 37% of FTSE 100 companies and 69% of the FTSE 250 don’t have a single ethnic minority director on their board.
“Even before I became CBI President in June, we started working on a new campaign called ‘Change the Race Ratio’, led by the CBI along with 14 other UK prominent businesses – including Deloitte, Brunswick, Linklaters and EY.
“It has one, singular goal: to increase racial and ethnic participation in business. Since then, I can announce today that we’ve reached 55 signatories.
“I’m incredibly proud, and humbled, by the huge momentum we’ve seen so far. We have four asks we want every business listening to consider in their own companies.
“Board representation, diverse senior leadership, transparency in disclosing pay gaps and building an inclusive culture. They are practical and entirely achievable. They could make your business more innovative, more profitable, more attractive to talent. And help make society fairer for everyone.”
The business case
The business case for diversity and inclusion has been widely researched and documented. It is undeniable that the more diverse an organisation, the more innovative and profitable it becomes.
Addressing ongoing discussions around the need to prove the worth of diversity and inclusion in business, Lord Bilimoria, says: “No matter where you look – there’s so much hard, quantifiable evidence like this showing that diverse companies are more profitable, more innovative, and more competitive.
“A lack of ethnic diversity in business costs the UK £24 billion a year in lost GDP. Firms with the lowest gender and ethnic diversity in their executive teams are 27% less likely to be profitable. In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, we know top-quartile companies outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36% in profitability.
“And when employees feel included in the workplace, their ability to innovate increases by 83%.
Diversity works. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s good business. And in an environment so uncertain, so hard-hit by COVID and preparing for a new trading relationship with the EU, no business can afford to miss out.”
How can businesses get involved?
The CBI is encouraging business leaders to become signatories and make a commitment to Change the Race Ratio. If you are interested in becoming a signatory and taking action, contact Richard DeNetto at the CBI.