At Fujitsu, we believe in the power of human difference to create a better future in a digital and diverse world. Organisations have made some progress in fostering ethnic diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but we are all still well behind where we need to be.
The justification most often put forward is that when vacancies occur, businesses receive virtually no applications from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic communities. This response is so passive it is unacceptable. Organisations must be more proactive in the push towards harnessing a more diverse workforce.
In the UK, just 2.6% of people on tech boards are from ethnic minorities. Talent from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds are also more likely to be overqualified than their white counterparts, yet white employees are more likely to be promoted than all other ethnicities.
Diversity extends to all the things that make us who we are. Encompassing a rich mix of visible and non-visible differences that exist within our workforce, such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, social status and many other characteristics.
At Fujitsu, since gender diversity became a key focus we have made great progress to create a more gender balanced organisation. That is not to say our mission is complete, but it does show what can be achieved when we put our minds to tackling underrepresentation in the workplace.
It is time for organisations – including us – to apply the same level of commitment to tackling the lack of ethnic diversity in the workplace.
It is always useful to remind ourselves of the numerous benefits a diverse and inclusive workplace presents aside from the fact that it is simply how a workplace should be, I’ve outlined some below.
The benefits of diversity, inclusion and being a responsible business
One of the clear cases for diversity and inclusion is to help organisations to better understand their customers and the societies they work in, allowing them to strengthen current relationship while also reaching new audiences. In fact, reports suggest that 70% of diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets and increase profitability.
Companies that endorse ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform at a higher level and see above average profits. A higher return than when we get gender balance right.
Part of this success stems from the fact that diverse teams are not only more creative, but also that 87% of inclusive workforces are better at making decisions.
While the business case is clear, the moral case is irrefutable. This is the right thing to do. Every person deserves recognition for their talent and skills, irrespective of their race or ethnicity.
Join us on our journey to diversity and inclusion
To address this, Fujitsu has vowed to put diversity and inclusion (D&I) front and centre. We have set up an Ethnic Diversity Steering Board, where we have outlined a defined set of goals to be proactive in our enabling and supporting colleagues from Minority Ethnic backgrounds in the workplace. These include:
- Connecting senior leaders to talent from a different ethnic background through reverse mentoring.
- Regularly reviewing progress against actions and ensuring measurable improvements are being made.
- Harnessing insights from our growing Cultural Diversity Employee Network to improve and empower racial equality at work.
- Identifying how current policies can support a diverse workplace. For example, our ‘refer a friend’ scheme rewards employees for putting us in touch with any passionate candidates.
In addition to what we are doing at Fujitsu, I’ve started looking at my own professional networks to see if I’m seeing, reading and listening to views and experiences which are different from my own – where I don’t have a diverse spread of views I’m actively going out and looking for it. The hope is that this will further broaden my way of thinking and enable me to hear more voices on societal trends, business related topics and more generally in my personal life. I encourage you to do the same.
Today, words are not enough – we must be proactive in the action we take, to empower those who are underrepresented. In turn, this will inspire greater creativity, profitability and unity from our workplace – and our world.
Get in touch I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we engage more people and what more we can be doing to create diverse and inclusive organisations.
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