Business Case for Equality and Diversity

Year of Publication: 

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has published an occasional paper on the business case for equality and diversity. The report considers the evidence for the business case for equality and diversity in private sector organisations. The aim is not to make the business case, but to assess the current evidence from academic journals and some key practitioner sources.

Key Findings:

  • Studies appear to have found evidence that firms have reaped business benefits from equality & diversity, but not all firms in all contexts at all times.
  • The firm’s economic and organisational context is crucial in determining how equality and diversity brings about business benefits. The business case is likely to depend on the markets a firm operates in, its labour market, organisational and other strategies and the actions of managers and leaders.
  • How diversity is managed is also crucial: if appropriately, it can bring benefits to business, if poorly, it can increase costs. Different approaches are likely to be needed, depending on the nature of diversity, the internal workplace context and external environment.
  • There is no single approach that all businesses can adopt to ensure equality and diversity are beneficial. To be effective, equality and diversity need to be embedded in the business strategy, not treated as an ad-hoc addition.