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Making the business case for diversity

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Data from our new financial index shows the most diverse and inclusive global businesses often outperform peers.

We often hear about the need to create more career opportunities for women, people of color, and for people of varying sexual preferences, ages and backgrounds. In today’s business environment, support for diversity in the workplace is not unusual. As demographics rapidly evolve, and therefore customer preferences change, efforts to proactively build diversity are more and more common.

But when it all boils down, where are the real dollars behind this investment? Where is the business case for diversity?

We recently conducted research to better understand the shifting perspective affecting companies across the world, turning to public data and interviews to map the evolving landscape. Our data confirms that companies making real investments into diversity continue to show stronger returns. The game has changed: diversity has become a bottom line issue, a growth engine. A C-level and board-level concern.

Shifting U.S. workforce demographics

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, racial makeup in the U.S. has changed significantly in the last 50 years. From 1960 to 2010, the percentages of Americans identifying themselves as Black, Hispanic, Asian or Other increased from just 15% to 36% of the population.

Chart shows rising workforce diversity in the U.S. from 1960-2010 according to Pew Research Center studySOURCE: Pew Research Center

In the next 15 years, those numbers will increase again, with the Hispanic population in particular increasing to 22%. By 2060, Hispanics will comprise 31% of the U.S. population.

The link between workforce diversity and financial performance

We have found that companies who have proactively built and consistently fostered a truly diverse workforce often financially outperform their peers. How do we know?

Thomson Reuters dug deep into the practices, policies and performance of over 5,000 global companies as part of the creation of our new financial tool, the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Index. Here’s how it works:

The Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index methodology is explained in this infographic
Click the image to enlarge or view the full methodology [PDF]
We rank every company on the four pillars that define diverse and inclusive workplaces. The data set is drawn from public sources, and does not rely on self-reporting.

The 100 companies with the highest combined score comprise our index. We currently update the ratings and rebalance the index every quarter.

Top-scoring companies and their common practices

Aggregate diversity & inclusion scores are only part of the story. We went beyond the merits and metrics of the D&I Index itself to surface and share what the top-scoring companies are doing to put diversity at the center of their efforts. Key executives participated in a series of in-depth conversations with us about their diversity journeys. The common findings clearly connect authentically diverse workplaces with positive financial performance:

  1. Workplace diversity is the foundation to power innovation
  2. Workplace diversity for diversity’s sake won’t fly
  3. The importance of authenticity (beyond hitting a number)
  4. Diversity and inclusion: you can’t have one without the other

“Organizations that support diversity and that also make employees feel included are much more likely to meet business goals than those organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion in isolation (or focus on neither).”
– Deloitte Australia and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

The world we live in has grown more diverse. As such, a company that closely mirrors that world – its customers, future employees and business partners – is naturally better positioned to succeed.

Thomson Reuters is committed to using our assets and influence to champion the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace – especially our own. We have several initiatives in place with support from the very top of our leadership teams.

We hope this will encourage a dialogue with clients and colleagues to help track how successful we are in accomplishing our goals. We’re holding ourselves accountable to ensure continued improvement on this important metric.


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