date: 2 June 2008
embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 3 June
Firms that take steps to improve diversity in the workplace earn real business benefits, a joint report from the CBI and the TUC suggests today (Tuesday).
Companies who look beyond the 'usual suspects' for staff and employ people on the basis of their abilities and potential, regardless of their sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion can benefit in many ways, including:
The report, Talent not Tokenism, shows that promoting diversity need not be expensive, complex or a legal minefield for business. And it identifies some key ingredients for bringing about change, including leadership from senior management and employee involvement, especially through unions and other workforce representatives.
It also makes clear that diversity can be improved through positive action - such as removing bias against older workers, developing strong links with local communities and offering flexible shift patterns to help working parents - not positive discrimination.
The report is being launched tonight (Tuesday) by the director-general of the CBI, Richard Lambert; the General Secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber; Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, which supported its production; and the Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman.
The report contains a dozen case studies featuring businesses of all sizes that have developed a more diverse workforce.
They illustrate how companies, from small family-run firms to multinationals like IBM and GSK, have improved their workplace diversity and the advantages in doing so. The report also contains tips and advice from senior executives at 10 leading companies, including BT, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Barclays, and Shell.
Case studies include:
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The need to unlock the talents of all - to create a truly representative workforce - is even more crucial at a time of economic uncertainty. The issue is not whether business can afford to diversify, but whether it can afford not to.
'Employers wanting to diversify the workplace will always find unions a willing ally. Diversity policies work best when the entire workplace is involved. Our growing network of equality reps in workplaces across the UK are helping deliver diversity from the boardroom to the shop floor.'
Director-general of the CBI Richard Lambert said: 'Employers who take steps to encourage a more diverse workforce notice huge benefits from doing so, whether it is hiring skilled staff, understanding their customers' needs better or more fundamentally through improved morale and productivity.
'It does not have to be hard work or legally complex either - simply making the effort to work out your precise needs, reaching out as widely as you can then hiring, training or promoting the best person on merit.'
Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips said: 'Most of us, employers and employees, know that in today's workplace, successful competition with our rivals depends on cooperation with our colleagues. Diversity can be an obstacle to working better - or it can be the spur to greater success.
'This guidance is a real-world, commonsense collection of stories and suggestions that will be useful for companies of all kinds and sizes.'
Minister for Equality Harriet Harman said: 'I welcome the work that the TUC and the CBI have done together on this guide. Equality and diversity is not just right in principle, but is necessary for Britain to be a modern and successful economy. This guide will be important and I look forward to seeing it used by businesses and public services alike.'
Both small and large companies have found that looking at what people can do rather than pigeon-holing them by one demographic characteristic or another has helped solve skills shortages in tight labour markets. Other case studies include:
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The report is being launched on Tuesday evening at 5.45pm at Centrepoint, 103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1DU. Harriet Harman is speaking at 6.15pm.
- A pdf copy of the full report, Talent Not Tokenism, the business benefits of workforce diversity, can be downloaded from the TUC website at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/talentnottokenism.pdf.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: email@example.com
Press release (1,200 words) issued 3 Jun 2008
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-14865-f0.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 17:30 hrs by 18.104.22.168