· 1 min read · News

Jo Swinson: Equality is good for business and business is good for equality

Published:

If the UK economy is to grow, employers must ensure they have a diverse range of people at every level, according to Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities.

Speaking last night at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) at the House of Lords, Swinson said employers need "encouragement and support" to ensure they have the right measures in place, to "nurture talent" and create more "inclusive workplaces".

"The evidence shows our voluntary approach is working. At the time of Lord Davies' latest report in April 2013, women had secured 34% of all FTSE100 board appointments in the previous year," Swinson said.

"More importantly, this is being achieved as a cultural shift. We are taking the same approach with Think, Act, Report - a voluntary scheme that encourages employers to think about equality in the workplace - we now have more than 100 organisations signed up, covering 1.7 million employees."

She added: "And last week, the Government set out an action plan supporting the Women's Business Council report's measures to broaden girls' aspirations and job choices and support women at all stages of their careers."

The event was being held to highlight the equality and inclusion barriers that still exist in organisations across the UK.

Swinson's comments were echoed by ENEI patron and keynote speaker David Blunkett. He talked about how to progress diversity in the current economic climate and how crucial it was to spread the message, change attitudes and share best practice.

Denise Keating, CEO, ENEI, said: "All the organisations we work with know that a diverse employee base brings fresh ideas and perspectives to the workplace, which results in a better understanding of their customer and client needs and ultimately, improved business performance."