Profiting from diversity: a guide to harnessing diversity for the benefit of your business




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How to use this guide


‘Diversity’ is a term which is used in many different ways. It has been used to focus on ethnicity, language and culture, but in its widest sense it can be used to understand and appreciate the unique talents of each individual. In this guide, we have used diversity to mean the differences in values, attitudes, culture, beliefs, ethnic background, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, physical ability or disability, age and life experiences of each individual in any group of people.


The purpose of this guide is to help you harness diversity for the benefit of your business. The business case for diversity will differ in every company according to location, industrial sector, and customer, employee and supplier needs. For some businesses, harnessing diversity may help you ensure that you are reaching the widest range of markets; for others it may be that diversity gives your company the edge to win that major contract.


This guide cannot provide you with the business case for diversity in your company. Instead it shows you where to look for the business improvements that diversity can bring, how to identify the solutions, and how to implement change.


This Introduction explains why diversity matters to business, and why it needs to be at the heart of business processes. Diversity: a change management process explains more about the different kinds of diversity and gives ideas about what can be included in the Diversity Strategy. Implementing a Diversity Strategy explains how to make the changes you have identified in your plan, and how to get buy-in. Equality law explains the basic legal framework on equality and diversity for business. Case studies illustrate some of the main principles outlined in this guide. The Further information section gives you details of where you can go for more assistance and some suggestions for further reading.


We hope you find this guide useful. If you have any feedback, we would like to hear from you:

diversityworksforlondon@lda.gov.uk

Why diversity matters to business


The diversity of London’s population is one of its greatest strengths, and provides great opportunities for business growth. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and is also one of the world’s most productive regions. London is consistently voted Europe’s number one business location.3


The global integration of markets and investments is set to continue and deepen; for example, the share of the world’s economy based in Asia is growing strongly. Employee and supplier diversity allows companies to respond to and take advantage of these trends.


Markets are changing and diversifying, and products and services are increasingly marketed in more sophisticated ways. In the UK, the ‘pink pound’ is estimated to be worth £70 billion per year4, while the spending power of people with disabilities is around £80 billion.5 In London alone, the disposable income of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) residents is over £16 billion6, and Londoners aged between 50 and 69 contribute £28 billion per year to the economy7.


Diversity gives business the opportunity to:

  • move into new markets and source a wider range of customers

  • create an inclusive working environment, motivating existing employees and improving productivity

  • find better suppliers and new investors

  • gain a competitive advantage by providing consistently better services to existing customers

  • find and retain skilled and versatile employees

  • increase creativity and innovation

  • increase penetration of overseas markets in a global economy

  • win more public and private sector contracts, which are increasingly being awarded on the basis of non-financial criteria such as diversity


In order to ensure that your business is performing to its full potential, valuing diversity must be a core value and at the strategic heart of the business, encompassing strategy, planning, operations, product development, procurement, service provision, and employee engagement. This guide provides any business wishing to harness the power of diversity with the knowledge and tools needed to make a difference.

Did you know?


  • Londoners speak over 300 languages8

  • Almost a third of Londoners are from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds9

  • One in ten Londoners is Muslim10

  • One in five Londoners is disabled11

  • Around half a million London residents are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender12

  • By 2011, almost a third of Londoners will be aged over 4513

  • By 2016, seven out of 10 new jobs will be filled by women14



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