Diversity is now a commercial imperative
A professional body we are currently working with has a very successful business model. Its members, often leading experts in their field, give of their time voluntarily to develop industry products that generate hundreds of millions in revenue each year – revenue that is ploughed back into developing this IP.
Recent market analysis suggests a challenge on the near horizon. They have identified at least six areas of potential business growth from environmental benchmarking to machine learning likely to be transformational over the next 5-10 years. They now urgently need to recruit the talent and capability to be able to lead industry development in these areas. To do is requiring a complete rethink of their talent pipeline which they are more than willing to do because this will ensure the long-term sustainability of their business model.
Contrast this to a decade or more of well-meaning diversity initiatives pioneered through many professional bodies in response to agendas like the Milburn Review. This is not to downplay the importance of these initiatives many of which have had positive impact. Nor is it to underestimate the growing recognition across the professions that their memberships should reflect the diversity of the clients and sectors they advise and support.
What is clear however, is that where the need for diversity is recognised as a clear business imperative – the thing that is required to bring about transformational change – that is likely to be a better predictor of future success than when this is done through good intention alone.