Business leaders meet to boost diversity in the workplace

Business leaders meet to boost diversity in the workplace

New government board intends to promote female entrepreneurship in the UK.

Business leaders meet to boost diversity in the workplace

A new government board, including senior industry bosses, has met for the first time to tackle inequality in the workplace.

MACA, the Men as Change Agent, will oversee a group of business figures working together with various organisations across the UK. The government-backed board encourages business leaders to act as Change Agents by promoting diversity and inclusion in business.

Supporting the Hampton Alexander review, MACA will help reach the target 33% of executive level FTSE 350 business leaders to be women by the end of 2020. Co-chairs will also help enhance how diversity can provide positive results for businesses.

The Rose Review

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, a report led by government earlier this year, revealed the gender parity gap between female and male entrepreneurs in the UK to have worsened since 2013.

Data from Global Entrepreneurship shows that in the UK, the proportion of men starting new businesses has increased from 9.2% in 2013 to 12.2% in 2017. In comparison, the number of women opening new businesses has flatlined, from 5.3% in 2013 to 5.6% in 2017.

The Rose review revealed efforts to encourage women entrepreneurs should be pursued and reinforced in order to achieve change.

More diversity, more profit

Much like left-handed people passing their oyster card at the tube, female entrepreneurs today adapt to a system by default, in which change is about challenging the established structure and mindset.

According to the government-led report, some of the UK’s most successful businesses have been started by women such as Asma Khan, Keely Deininger, and Roni Savage. Above all, findings reveal companies promoting gender diversity on their executive teams are 27% more likely to create superior profit.

Averil Leimon, director and leadership psychologist at White Water Group, said: “We know that when you have a more diverse senior team or teams at every level, you are more commercially successful – you make more money and you’re more innovative. We’ve had research showing that over and over the years, so it is questionable why you would run a business below par.

“I think it’s because it’s what you’re used to. The white older man is so used to seeing the white older man, making them believe they are successful this way, but they don’t look at the data showing they would be more successful and have more money in their pockets with a diverse team.”

Accelerating change

To improve equality in the workplace, the Rose review suggests providing better funding for female entrepreneurs whilst men today are more likely to receive financial help for their business than women.

When it comes to the responsibility of establishing equality in the workplace, Leimon said: “In one sense, everybody is responsible, and another sense, from the top. Whoever sets a tone sets a pattern, and then it cascades down the organisation.”

For female professionals experiencing the imposter syndrome in the workplace, Leimon believes they should “grab the opportunity and know they’re doing it for every woman there is in the profession. If you’ve been offered the job, you’re probably far better than many of the other contestants.”

As their mission, MACA hopes to accelerate this change, in which greater equality and opportunities will emerge in top companies. By challenging the mindset and system of big businesses, the board promotes diversity and inclusion at a larger scale.

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