Diversity is key in today's businesses

It’s official: diversity is good for business. This has been known for some time but now the Lord Mayor of London is involved in a scheme to promote diversity: at the beginning of this year the current Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, only the second woman to hold the post since 1189, launched three “diversity buses” at Guildhall Yard in the City of London.

“The world has changed since I became the first female partner at my law firm CMS 30 years ago,” she says. “But it has not changed fast enough, and we need to challenge traditional thinking and make sure far fewer women and people from diverse backgrounds get left behind.” The buses operate from Westbourne Park, Bow and Shepherd’s Bush.

Senior figures at 34 companies are sponsoring the initiative, which is part of the Power of Diversity programme and featured conferences and breakfast lectures at the South Bank Centre and Mansion House, among others. The Diversity Breakfasts tackle the themes Exercising Power, The Power of Giving, The Power of Difference and The Transformation and the Diversity Conferences address Harnessing The Power Of Diversity and Affinity Conference: Talent Rising.

These are all designed to share best practice and experience in senior levels in City organizations, as a way of widening the talent pool in business in the UK and improving people management.


Building a 'hire on merit' culture

“There has always been a moral case for inclusion, but now, there is a clear business case,” the Lord Mayor continues. “London will lose out if it does not capture the benefits of diversity – fresh perspectives, originality and innovation – by enabling talented individuals to get to the top. This change will not happen overnight but we need to ensure that businesses employ a true meritocracy, so that the best succeed, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or nationality.”

we need to challenge traditional thinking and make sure far fewer women and people from diverse backgrounds get left behind

Of course Lord Mayor Woolf is herself an example of the benefits of diversity in the workplace. As only the second woman to hold the role, she is also a leading spokesperson for the UK financial services industry and is determined to push the message in the City of London that diversity boosts business. She also wishes to help implement practical steps.

The 34 major City firms are Arup, Baker & McKenzie, Bechtel, BNY Mellon, Bouygues, Capital Group, Catlin, CBRE, CIPD, CMS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Eversheds, Harvey Nash, Hogan Lovells, HSBC, ISS (Facility Service Ltd), Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyd’s of London Market Place, Lucas Fettes, Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, National Grid, Newton Investment Management, Nomura, Odgers Berndtson, Pret, PwC, RBS, Reed Smith, State Street, Sthree, Thomson Reuters, TFL, Willis.