It matters because the UK has changed beyond all recognition over the last few decades, and is not the same place it was 30 or even 15 years ago. It is now a very diverse and multi ethnic society with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. For this reason alone its important to try to understand and define what a diverse society really is.
Of course another reason why it matters is because for a individual to be excluded (because of their race, culture, religion or language) from a group can have a huge negative impact on that person. It can lead to them being marginalised and alienated from society.
This in turn means a society not receiving the full benefits of that persons abilities and contributions.
For these two reasons alone being positive and proactive about diversity to create a more inclusive and equal society is vital, as it's a way of bring people from different backgrounds together.
Of course diversity doesn’t just mean people of different ethnic backgrounds it also means disabled people, women, people of different religious beliefs or sexual orientation etc.
Why diversity matters for companies and business
More and more people from minority groups are entering mainstream society and joining the middle class as both professionals and customers. It is therefore in the interests of businesses to promote policies and practises that target these new consumers otherwise they could miss out on a opportunity to tap into this new and growing market.
Diversity matters to private companies because otherwise they could be underrepresented in crucial areas, and lose reputation with consumers with ever increasing buying power.
Employers who will value diversity and promotes inclusion can also benefit by tapping into ambitious, talented and capable people from diverse backgrounds that other companies will be missing out on.
A company or organisation that has a positive reputation for combating prejudice also benefits because:
- It will gain a positive reputation that will attract capable employees, who will want to stay with you.
- They will find that a wider range of suppliers and purchases will want to trade and do business with you, thereby enhancing your reputation in the market place.
How to tackle diversity issues and promote inclusion
Ensure that people feel they are not being listened to.
Encourage the ability to learn from each others experiences.
Support individuals by helping them to explore and discover how they can fulfil their potential.
Major national companies with countrywide branches can try to ensure that their staff reflect the host local community in which their branches are located.
Diversity focused organizations
Diversity in the UK
Diversity advice for employers