Diversity is the key to success

I was recently asked to attend a debate at Durham University where the subject of discussion was whether or not quotas should be enforced to ensure more women are able to take on high-ranking positions in the boardroom.

There have been some big improvements in this area in recent years ever since the Davies Report highlighted the situation in 2011 and called for voluntary action by UK companies to redress the gender balance of UK boards.  The proportion of female directors on FTSE 100 companies has actually risen to 19%, up from 12.5% two years ago.  Whilst these figures are pleasing, more still needs to be done.

Despite some interesting views made to the contrary at the Durham Union speaker event, I maintain my belief that quotas are not the solution.  It is counterproductive if women are put on boards to fill quotas as the impact they will have on major company decisions to help shape company policy will be diminished.  Women, like men, need to feel that they have earned their way to the top.

But the debate certainly got me thinking and it is not only in the boardroom where a diverse workforce is not only required, but is a necessity.  Companies need to be more flexible in how they recruit, develop and manage the top talent.  If they can create the right infrastructure they can nurture and hold on to their star performers.

Here at Pertemps, we take great pride in not only our own diverse workforce, but in the ability of our branches and consultants to supply our clients with staff from diverse backgrounds.  We work with clients to identify and remove any barriers that may be preventing sections of society from finding work and are continually listening to our candidates.  Only recently did representatives from Pertemps attend an event in London organised by Business in the Community, where they listened to some of the challenges currently faced by young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people when they are looking for employment.  As a recruiter, we need to fully understand all of the challenges people are facing so we can do everything possible to make sure all people are provided the same opportunities to find suitable employment.

I believe that, as a business, we are doing very well in promoting social inclusion in the workplace.  In fact, we have just been awarded a Gold standard following a gender and equality benchmarking survey carried out by Race for Opportunity. This places us in the top ten companies for our approach to gender and equality.

Businesses which have diverse boardrooms are more empowered to serve diverse markets across a wide variety of sectors.  The same applies to our workforces as social inclusion brings a hugely positive effect to a company’s culture, ethics and, most importantly, the people who work there.