UK businesses come together in diversity push

·3 min read

The CEOs of some of the UK’s biggest firms are pushing for more diversity in the workforce as research shows that more inclusive businesses are more commercially successful.

Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity (DIBE) in the workplace is associated with higher recruitment and retention rates. Studies also show that it can increase profitability by as much as 35%.

However, while most UK companies have a strategy for leadership team diversity, the focus is on gender and ethnicity, with disability and sexual orientation coming second.

To tackle the issue, CEOs of business in tech, retail, construction, and professional services have come together under the DIAL Global – CEO ACTIVIST campaign.

Read more: Gender pay gap: Women work for free for two months of the year

Leila McKenzie-Delis, founder of DIAL Global, told Yahoo Finance UK: “The CEO Activist Pledge is unique because it brings together CEOs from some of the biggest organisations in the UK, whether that’s Unilever (ULVR.L), Microsoft (MSFT), Barratt Homes (BDEV.L) or Co-op. These companies and their leaders care about DIBE and want to make a difference to business and society, and I know they stand ready to help the government and any future government in this area.

diversity Leila McKenzie-Delis, founder of DIAL Global, wants to show businesses that being inclusive can be a powerful commercial lever. Photo: DIAL
Leila McKenzie-Delis, founder of DIAL Global, wants to show businesses that diversity can be a powerful commercial lever. Photo: DIAL

“Research has shown that diversity and inclusion benefits the ethical values of a company, but also act as a powerful commercial lever, increasing creativity, productivity, and ultimately boosting profits.”

For DIAL, diversity in the business environment is about more than gender, race and ethnicity. It includes employees with diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures and disabilities.

Business leaders and politicians will be addressing the issue, in particular how to move the dial on diversity and drive growth in the national economy on Thursday 23 March in a discussion that will be live streamed by Yahoo.

Tevin Tobun, CEO of logistics company GV Group and MP Yasmin Qureshi will discuss the role government can play in driving inclusion and equity in industry.

Read more: FTSE firms given diversity target of 40% women on boards

Ipsos (IPS.PA) CEO Ben Page will talk in a second panel on how businesses support and encourage each other, from different points in the journey to an inclusive culture.

“Our group represents a rich source of insight for policy makers, and we are excited to delve deeper into all of these areas alongside other exciting themes at this exclusive event,” McKenzie-Delis added.

DIAL findings show that discrimination is still an issue at the workplace, with 25% of those discriminated against saying they did not feel comfortable reporting it. Overall, 42% of those who did report it say it was not dealt with appropriately — and it matters: 67% of this last group will leave the company.

Watch: The DIAL Global CEO Activist Council: Where Policy Meets Practice

Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.