Hiring Diverse Talent Is The New Imperative

Today, no business doubts the bottom-line benefits of a diverse customer base.

What company wouldn’t want a slice of the $750 billion combined annual spending of African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic communities in the U.S.? And if you add to that the growing strength of the pink dollar and the retiring population, we’re talking big bucks. But it’s impossible to exploit all those markets, both at home and abroad, unless organizations are in touch with those consumers’ needs.
“The best way to do that is by recruiting a diverse workforce that mirrors your customer base,” says John Brock, chief operating officer of Cadbury Schweppes, the U.K. food and drinks company. “By managing this diversity effectively, we get a better understanding of our customers. And that’s a significant competitive advantage.”

Organizations that have invested in diversity initiatives have reaped the benefits. Take Union Bank of California, which was voted “Best Company for Minorities” by Fortune magazine in 1999. Its stock has appreciated at a 34% compound rate for the past five years. In fact, Fortune’s top 50 best companies for minorities as a whole outperformed the S&P 500. No wonder other organizations are following suit.

But it’s not just about the bottom line any more. The real reason organizations are pursuing diverse talent is that they won’t have a labor force if they’re considered exclusive. According to Geoff Unwin, chief executive officer of management and IT consulting firm Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, demographics in the West are working against the needs of global corporations.