“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Quote on the base of the Statue of Liberty

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Donald J. Trump

Let’s face it – you’re unlikely to be reading an article like this if you don’t believe in the importance of diversity. The headline alone will be enough to turn away bigots, homophobes, racists and other small-minded individuals. So you’re likely on this page because you want to get some ammunition to explain to others why acceptance is better than rejection, diversity is better than homogeneity, love is better than hate. Well, you’re in luck because this article will give you stats and studies that show the business benefits of diversity.

This article will give you stats and studies that show the business benefits of diversityClick To Tweet

Feel free to grab and share images and retell some of the studies around your office.

 

 

Action beats belief

It would be lovely if people made the decision to give everyone fair and equal opportunities purely out of human decency and moral responsibility. My hippy heart dreams of this kind of corporate utopia. But it’s just not realistic. Most people who succeed in business do so because they put the needs of their organisation before human responsibility. And as long as companies use profit as their ultimate measurement of success, humans will always come second (at best).

As long as companies use profit as their ultimate measurement of success, humans will always come second (at best)Click To Tweet

So a moral argument is unlikely to work in a business situation. But that’s OK because there are very solid business reasons to address diversity. And changing actions is more important than changing beliefs. That’s what we’ll be concentrating on. And there are plenty of links in here if you want to read further.

Let’s get started.

 

 

Women leaders are effective

Woman are still shockingly under-represented in leadership positions. Currently, only 5% of Fortune 1000 companies have a female CEO. But these companies are responsible for 7% of the Fortune 1000’s total revenue. That would indicate female CEOs are about 40% more successful than average.

Female CEOs are about 40% more successful than average

In 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute released a study that indicated sexual equality could be a significant benefit to the world’s economy. With a 10-year vision, it estimated that redressing the gender imbalance in the world’s workforce could be worth an additional $28 trillion to the global GDP. That’s the equivalent of the US and Chinese economies combined.

But ‘Equality’ can be a troublesome word because it leads to the incorrect logic of: woman = man. That’s pretty misleading and unhelpful. The argument for more women in leadership is not that they are the same as men. It’s because they are different. In general (because specifics are also misleading) women add different perspectives, respond differently to issues, have different management styles and different ways of resolving conflict. Judging from the stats above, these female approaches are good for business.

 

The future is a diverse one

The Millenials are stepping into the workforce as the Baby Boomers make their exit. And the difference between the two generations in the US is pretty striking. When you look at the racial spit of the 55+ generation, you’ll see that 75% of them are white. Compare that to under 18s and you’ll find that only 51.5% of them are white. This is a trend that’s leading towards the US being an economy that’s predominantly run by a soon-to-be minority demographic. Clearly, that’s not going to work in the foreseeable future. And maybe the shocking realisation of this fact is one of the things that’s led to the current political climate.

In most western countries, populations are becoming increasingly diverse

America may be one of the most extreme examples. But, in most western countries, populations are becoming increasingly diverse.

As our markets become more diverse, it makes sense for companies to reflect that in their workforce. Without a diverse group of employees, companies will miss insights and perspectives and knowledge. In turn, that will cause them to miss opportunities. And that means less revenue. Statistics show that racially diverse companies have a 35% chance of performing better than the industry average. If shareholders and investors understand this, they should be insisting that the companies they’re investing in are addressing diversity properly.

 

Invest in immigrants

Immigrants and refugees are a hot political topic right now. It was one of the factors that led to the UK voting to leave Europe. It was central to the US election. It’s got other countries moving towards similar isolationist politics. And the repercussions for business could be devastating.

The broader experience of having lived in another culture helps people to spot opportunities

Remember that Google was started by a Russian immigrant. Apple was started by the son of a Syrian immigrant. Oracle was founded by the son of Iranian immigrants. And these aren’t the exceptions. More than half of the most successful startups are founded by at least one immigrant.

In the UK, research shows that immigrants are about 3 times more likely to start businesses than British-born nationals. It also shows that UK-born adults who have lived overseas and returned to the country are also more likely to start a business. So clearly the broader experience of having lived in another culture helps people to spot opportunities.

There’s so much more

These are stats for just the most visible (and studied) areas of diversity. Yesterday Sulaiman shared his thoughts on disability. And over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at other areas of discrimination, including sexuality, neurodiversity, ageism and education.

Businesses are asking for more ideas from their staff. And the best ideas come from diverse groups of people. If you want your businesses to have a brighter future, one of the best things you can do is create a more balanced workforce.

And, if you’re an investor, we’d advise you not to put your money into companies that are refusing to deal with diversity.

If you’re an investor, we’d advise you not to put your money into companies that are refusing to deal with diversityClick To Tweet

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'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Quote on the base of the Statue of Liberty 'Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown...
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Dave Birss
Founder and Editor at OpenForIdeas.org
Dave is obsessed with creativity. He's been a musician, illustrator, stand-up comedian, poet, radio DJ, television presenter and advertising creative director. He also wrote A User Guide to the Creative Mind.
Now he runs Open for Ideas and helps individuals and companies become more creative.
You can find him speaking at conferences all over the world. And sharing his thinking in boardrooms, universities and dimly-lit pubs.