More than half of UK SMEs have embraced diversity

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More than half of UK SMEs consider themselves to have diverse workforces, according to a new report looking at diversity in Britain’s workplaces.

In a survey by Aldermore, more than half of the leaders questioned said they have diverse teams with a balance of ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders.

A further third said improving their firms’ diversity is a priority over the coming year.

Meanwhile, more than two fifths of businesses said they have senior female employees, and a third said they would make adjustments for disabled employees and ensure that their places of work were welcoming for people of all sexual orientations.

In keeping with this attitude, more than two fifths of the SMEs surveyed said they were more likely to do business with partners known for their inclusive employment policies.

“It is heartening that so many UK small and medium-sized business owners describe their workforce as diverse,” said Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director for business finance at Aldermore, commenting on the report’s findings.

“However you define diversity, be it by age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, promoting a diverse workforce should be a key consideration within any business, since employees from a range of backgrounds can offer different experiences to help drive the success of progressive businesses.”

However, despite the generally positive results, there was some room for improvement.

A quarter of the SMEs questioned said they have no plans to improve diversity over the next year and 22 per cent said diversity was a low priority for them.

Writing for SME Magazine back in May, coaching expert Lynn Scott described the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce for a small- or medium-sized business.

“Of course we tend to like people who are like us, but that is a bad way of recruiting for a business that needs complementary skills and strengths and diversity of thought and ideas,” she wrote, noting that recruiting too many similar staff can have disastrous consequences.

For more from the report, see the Aldermore website.


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