A recent survey of CEOs reveals inclusion and diversity are no longer seen as soft issues, but as a crucial competitive advantage. Australian CEOs are more likely than their counterparts surveyed around the world to view talent diversity as enhancing business performance.
The 18th annual Global CEO Survey 2015 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed diversity as one of five key themes. Of the Australian CEOs – 85 per cent whose companies have a formal inclusion and diversity strategy – 92 per cent (versus 85 per cent globally) believe it has improved the bottom line.
“What we’ve done with diversity and inclusion is integrate it into our leadership training, into our talent programs, into our succession planning,” QBE Group CEO John Neal tells PwC. “Diversity and inclusion is an integrated component of everything we do around leadership and talent.”
Other Australian companies are coming in strong with 86 per cent of CEOs reporting a talent diversity strategy in place, compared with 64 per cent globally.
Despite these efforts in Australia, and although women make up more than half of all university graduates, only 26 per cent of senior management and 17 per cent of CEOs are women. Prior research further indicates the appointment and retention of women in CEO roles in Australia is in decline.
Cultural diversity and diverse cultural experience is becoming central to companies capturing opportunities abroad, according to the PwC analysis, with 67 per cent of Australian CEOs viewing China as the top destination for offshore growth, followed by the US, Japan and Indonesia.
Other highlights of the survey indicate that competitiveness in the market is a top priority for Australian CEOs, with 60 per cent seeing more threats to growth today compared with three years ago. Perhaps related, the number of CEOs that plan to undertake deals and restructures in the next year has risen sharply from 43 per cent in 2014 to 62 per cent in 2015.
For more information on how to integrate inclusion and diversity practises into your organisation you can attend the AHRI Inclusion and Diversity Conference, attend a short course on workplace diversity or unconcious bias or AHRI members can access AHRI:ASSIST for information sheets, policy templates, case studies and more.