(From Center for American Progress) -- Our nation and our workforce are both becoming more diverse. The share of people of color in the United States is increasing; more women are entering the labor force; and gay and transgender individuals are making vital contributions to our economy, while being increasingly open about who they are. To that end, businesses that embrace diversity have a more solid footing in the marketplace than others.
A diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. And businesses have learned that they can draw upon our nation’s diversity to strengthen their bottom line. In this way, diversity is a key ingredient to growing a strong and inclusive economy that’s built to last.
Let’s look at the top 10 economic benefits of workplace diversity.
1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth. Our nation’s human capital substantially grows as more women, racial and ethnic minorities, and gay and transgender individuals enter the workforce. A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.
2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market. By bringing together individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, businesses can more effectively market to consumers from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, and consumers who are gay or transgender. It is no surprise, then, that studies show diversifying the workplace helps businesses increase their market share.
3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce. When companies recruit from a diverse set of potential employees, they are more likely to hire the best and the brightest in the labor market. In an increasingly competitive economy where talent is crucial to improving the bottom line, pooling from the largest and most diverse set of candidates is increasingly necessary to succeed in the market.
4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs. Businesses that fail to foster inclusive workplaces see higher turnover rates than businesses that value a diverse workforce because they foster a hostile work environment that forces employees to leave. The failure to retain qualified employees results in avoidable turnover-related costs at the expense of a company’s profits. Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment helps businesses avoid these costs.
5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce. Bringing together workers with different qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences are all key to effective problem-solving on the job. Similarly, diversity breeds creativity and innovation. Of 321 large global enterprises—companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue—surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.