Why business needs diversity

The UK became only the third country in the world with a tech sector valued at over $1 trillion dollars (£818 billion) in 2022 [1]. Despite reaching this incredible milestone, has the sector unlocked its full potential? According to Tech Talent Charter’s 2022 ‘Tech Diversity Report’, 25% of workers in the industry are ethnic minorities, but this halves to 13% at a senior level [2]. While the Women in Tech 2023 survey found that women still only account for 26% of people working in the sector [3].

In today’s tech sector—indeed, across all fields of work—diversity is not only a matter of social responsibility: it’s a strategic imperative. From innovation and expansion to decision-making and sustainability, diverse workforces that reflect the communities they serve can enhance a company’s success in a multitude of ways. This blog delves into the compelling business case for diversity and the research behind it, and explores how a multidimensional workforce contributes to innovation, growth, and sustainability across organisations.

Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

Diverse teams bring together people with different backgrounds, experiences, and—crucially—perspectives. This diversity of thought is a catalyst for creativity and innovation. When employees from various backgrounds collaborate, they approach problems from multiple angles, leading to more innovative solutions. Research shows that diverse teams are more likely to develop new products, improve existing ones, and bring fresh perspectives to the table. Forbes reported, in 2020, that among S&P 500 companies, those with above-average rates of diversity in their workforce produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than companies with below average diversity (26%) [4]. Innovative companies tend to be more adaptable and responsive to market changes, which is crucial in today's fast-paced business environment. By fostering an inclusive workplace, businesses can tap into the full spectrum of human creativity and drive innovation.

More Diversity Equals More Customers

A business that is diverse is better equipped to understand and attract a wider range of customers. Diversity is not just about the composition of the workforce but also extends to clients and target markets. In 2013, the Harvard Business Review found that companies with a diverse workforce were 70% more likely to report breaking into new markets [5]. This, the Review observes, was because when “leaders value differences, all employees can find senior people to go to bat for compelling ideas and can persuade those in charge of budgets to deploy resources to develop those ideas.” This leads to more effective marketing strategies, product development, and customer service.

Consumers are also more likely to support and relate to companies that value diversity and inclusivity, which can lead to increased customer loyalty [6]. Crucially, diverse teams can help businesses avoid cultural missteps or insensitive marketing campaigns that could alienate potential customers.

Attracting Top Talent

In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is paramount. Research published in Science Direct has contributed to a growing body of evidence that employer attractiveness is shaped not only by profitability or other performance indicators, but also by companies’ objectives and efforts to promote diversity [7]. Many candidates actively seek out employers with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion. By fostering a diverse workforce, businesses not only attract talented individuals from various backgrounds and demographics but also create an environment where employees want to stay and grow.

Additionally, diverse teams are often better equipped to identify and tap into new talent pools. They can engage with and attract candidates who might not have considered the company otherwise. This creates a more robust talent pipeline.

Improved Decision-Making

Diversity brings a wealth of different perspectives and experiences to decision-making. Companies with diverse leadership teams often make better strategic decisions, especially when it comes to addressing complex challenges. Diverse leadership can lead to a broader understanding of markets, customers, and global dynamics, which is particularly beneficial for multinational corporations.

When leaders and teams come together with unique viewpoints, the quality of decision-making improves. This is because diversity challenges groupthink, reduces the risk of bias, and encourages critical evaluation of options. Katherine Phillips, an associate professor of management and organisations at the Kellogg School of Management, observed that “merely the presence of diversity in a group creates awkwardness, and the need to diffuse this tension leads to better group problem-solving.” [8]

Compliance and Risk Mitigation

Compliance with diversity and inclusion policies has evolved beyond moral obligation: it's now a matter of legal necessity. Non-compliance can lead to costly tribunals, reputational damage, and a loss of business [9]. It has been suggested that the Toshiba accounting scandal in 2015, when the company’s operating profits were overstated by $1.2 billion, was caused by a closed corporate community that prioritised insularity and avoided diverse perspectives [10].

By proactively fostering diversity, companies can mitigate these risks and ensure that they are on the right side of both history and the law.

Enhanced Employee Engagement and Productivity

Diverse and inclusive workplaces tend to have higher levels of employee engagement. Deloitte reported that 83% of millennials sampled described themselves as more likely to be engaged in a company with higher rates of diversity [11]. When employees feel that they are valued for who they are—irrespective of their background—they are understandably more likely to be motivated, satisfied, and productive. This enhanced engagement leads to lower turnover rates and reduced absenteeism.

Diversity is not just about demographics: it also encompasses diversity of thought and ideas. When employees are encouraged to express their viewpoints, they feel more invested in their work and the success of the organisation, ultimately leading to increased productivity.

Corporate Reputation and Brand Image

A commitment to diversity and inclusion contributes positively to a company's reputation and brand image. When businesses embrace diversity as a core value, it resonates with a wide audience, including customers, investors, and the general public. Forbes reported in 2019 that, following analysis of 49 diversity reports, Google identified the pattern that companies with higher rates of diversity also enjoyed higher stock prices [12].

Additionally, businesses that are recognised for their efforts in diversity and inclusion often outperform their peers in terms of brand loyalty, customer trust, and overall market value. This is backed by a 2020, McKinsey and Company report which established a correlation between above-average levels of workforce diversity and a company’s positive financial performance [13].


The business case for diversity is unequivocal. Companies that invest in diversity and inclusion enjoy a plethora of benefits, from day-to-day enhanced creativity to long-term sustainability. Establishing the right conditions for a diverse workplace, however, requires awareness, leadership, and a concerted effort by senior management. A package of measures is needed, and these might include:

  • Acknowledging unconscious bias and creating a plan to address it. Employee feedback can be an important part of this.
  • Recognising cultural and religious holidays.
  • Adopting diversity and inclusion training programmes.
  • Having clear and transparent diversity and inclusion policies.
  • Ensuring equal pay for equal work.
  • Drafting inclusive job ads. This means avoiding gender-coded language like using ‘he’ as the default pronoun.

Too often diversity is dismissed as a moralising buzzword: in fact, it’s a verifiable advantage that can drive innovation, growth, and adaptability. The world is only getting smaller and better connected in ways previously unimaginable, bringing together all kinds of people from all walks of life. As businesses look to the future, they should recognise that embracing diversity is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing too.