In recent years, the issues of discrimination and bias have shifted to the forefront of public consciousness. As a result, companies are now embracing the challenge of creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces. While a lack of diversity can negatively impact a company’s bottom line, diverse workforces can lead to better financial performance, creativity, and innovation.
Despite these benefits, many companies still struggle to create truly inclusive workplaces, particularly for women, disabled people, and ethnic minorities. Creating an inclusive culture requires addressing issues such as unconscious bias and providing equal career opportunities for all employees based on their skills and competencies. The road to achieving true diversity and inclusion may not be easy, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
In recent years, diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important topics in the workplace. Several prominent social justice initiatives have brought the issues of discrimination and bias to the forefront of public consciousness. As consumers are increasingly demanding that companies take a stand on social issues, companies are embracing the challenge of creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
From Start to Finish
Beyond public opinion, a lack of diversity and inclusion can have a significant negative impact on a company’s bottom line. Diversity-poor workplaces lack creativity, innovation, and competitiveness. Professional environments promoting diversity and inclusion are more likely to attract top talent and have better employee satisfaction and retention.
While hiring candidates from different backgrounds is a big first step, achieving real diversity and inclusion requires creating a culture where everyone’s background is valued and respected.
This wholistic approach fundamentally benefits the company’s performance. A study conducted by McKinsey found that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians”. Another study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics showed that moving to a 30 percent female share in leadership positions translates to a 15 percent increase in profitability for most firms.
Despite these positive outcomes, many companies still struggle to create truly inclusive workplaces. Women, for instance, continue to face significant challenges in their careers, including inequality in hiring, promotions, and leadership positions. These challenges can impact job satisfaction, confidence, and ultimately, cause women to leave companies. By embracing initiatives that support women, and by promoting a more diverse and inclusive workplace, companies can help their employees thrive while benefiting from traditionally overlooked expertise.
Creating an inclusive culture requires addressing issues such as unconscious bias and providing equal career opportunities for all employees, based solely on their competencies and skills. The road to achieving true diversity and inclusion may not be easy, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
“Most organizations […] must do more to take full advantage of the opportunity that diverse leadership teams represent. That’s particularly true for their talent pipelines: attracting, developing, mentoring, sponsoring, and retaining the next generations of global leaders at all levels of organizations. Given the higher returns that diversity is expected to bring, […] it is better to invest now, since winners will pull further ahead, and laggards will fall further behind.”
Staying the course
When we look at the FinTech industry through the lens of gender, we can quickly spot differences that need to be addressed. However, gender is just one of several factors we need to consider. Our journey towards an equal, fair workplace for everybody requires that we broaden our scope. We must identify all factors that fuel inequality, give the people facing these inequalities their due visibility, and create innovative solutions together.
For example, people with (certain) health conditions or impairments face major workplace discrimination. In Luxembourg alone, “Le Centre pour l’Egalité des traitement (CET)” reported that in 2019 24% of the 155 cases it handled had been sent for reasons of discrimination related to disability.
Another leading cause of workplace inequality is racial and ethnic discrimination (20% of CET cases) which, despite all the significant progress made by community and workplace leaders over many decades, remains a key issue to be addressed. LGBT+ community members also face difficulties. Luxembourg seemingly has a highly positive perception of LGBT+ members in the workplace (According to a 2019 study, the Eurobarometer on Discrimination, 88% of Luxembourg respondents were “Comfortable or moderately comfortable” with the idea of working with a Gay, Lesbian, or bisexual colleague). However, Luxembourg has still not made conversion therapy illegal, no progress has been made to improve the country’s sex education program, and the implementation of educational programs on gender and sexual diversity has ground to a standstill according to the latest ILGA Report 2023.
Gender, disability, race and ethnicity, sexuality… These factors are not separate. Together, they create a complex web of inequality which affects the day-to-day lives of the people around us. We must all do our part to help.
By sharing a series of best practices that can be implemented in every workplace, we want to spur real concrete change. The road ahead is long, but the path to an equal and fair workplace is clear – let’s stay the course.
Completing the Journey
Coming up in June, the LHoFT will release an analysis of diversity challenges in the Finance and Technology sector. In addition to addressing the gender gap, this report, will, by extension, consider some of the obstacles faced by LGBT+ community members, disabled people and ethnic minorities in the industry, and offer up some potential solutions to the challenges.
International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate women’s achievements, but it’s also an opportunity to extend the concept of inclusion to all marginalized communities. In today’s world, promoting diversity and inclusion isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s essential for companies that want to succeed. Studies show that diverse workforces lead to better financial performance, and businesses that promote inclusion are more likely to attract top talent and have better employee satisfaction.
But it’s not just about the bottom line. Embracing diversity and inclusion also leads to greater creativity and innovation, as different perspectives and experiences can help solve complex problems (avoiding group-think).
The struggles against discrimination and exclusion are shared by all marginalized groups, and recognizing these struggles can strengthen solidarity and create a more inclusive society. So, let’s celebrate inclusion not just on Women’s Day, but every day, and work towards a brighter, more diverse, and more inclusive future for all.
“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph
Written by Oriane Kaesmann
Header image generated on Midjourney