Research from Jobcentre Plus reveals that having a diverse workforce can help boost sales and attract recruits.
According to the survey 56 per cent of customers would be more likely to use a business they knew to have a diverse workforce while 79 per cent of the 2,000 respondents think it is important for organisations to have a diversity policy in place.
The research revealed that employees and customers alike think employers could be doing more to attract people from different backgrounds – in particular disabled, female, ethnic and older workers – with one in two claiming businesses should be more proactive in improving workforce diversity.
There are signs that employers are becoming more willing to recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds or socially excluded groups. Jobcentre Plus’ latest annual employer survey revealed that 58 per cent of employers claim to currently employ people from groups who traditionally find it harder to get jobs such as lone parents, the long-term unemployed, or those from ethnic minorities.
Commenting on the findings, Lesley Strathie, chief executive of Jobcentre Plus said: “Creating diverse workforces is about more than just legislative compliance and corporate responsibility – it’s about better business.
“This research proves to employers that being committed to diversity is not a business choice, but a business imperative. Customers and employees want to shop and work in environments which reflect their local communities: by broadening the scope of their recruitment base, employers can plug skills gaps, improve retention and increase productivity.”