Skip Breadcrumb Links
About RBC > Diversity > Why does Diversity Matter?
Why does Diversity Matter?
Simply put, people are the most important asset of any company. For companies to succeed in the global marketplace, they must make the most of the full range of their people. Companies must attract and retain the right skills, the best minds, all the required resources – and that means diversity.
With demographic shifts, advances in technology and communications, and globalization, diversity is quickly becoming a driver of growth around the world.
Maximizing the potential of a diverse workforce is not only a social imperative, but is also a competitive advantage. From a business vantage point, to best serve the market one must “employ the market.”
Why Diversity Matters
It's About All of Us… and Connecting to our Markets
- Today's workforce and marketplace is a dynamic mix of different cultures, ages, races, lifestyles, genders and more.
- Statistics emerging from recent U.S. and Canadian census and labour force reports prove that our consumer base and talent pools are shifting.
- These visible demographic differences, as well as emerging market realities, continuously create new customer and employee needs.
It's Good Business…
Diversity is about:
- Acknowledging and leveraging similarities and differences
- Increased creativity and innovation
- Recruitment and retention of top talent
- Access to a changed marketplace
- Leveraging our resources to outperform our competitors,
- Enabling people to unlock their potential so they achieve their aspirations
- How we lead teams
It's About Inclusion and Respect…
Increasing our capabilities with diversity will impact:
- the way we work with people who have different experiences or backgrounds,
- how receptive we are to different ideas, and
It’s the right thing to do
A Business as well as a Social Imperative
The facts are clear:
- Gender equity – Women continue to be an under-employed resource and are still not equally represented at executive levels and boards. The Catalyst study: The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity revealed that companies with more women in senior management outperformed companies with few women in senior management with a Return On Equity (ROE) of 35% higher and a Total Shareholder Return (TSR) of 34% higher. A 2006 Women Matter study by McKinsey & Company echoed that companies where women are most strongly represented at board or top management level are also the companies that perform best. However, despite correlations between strong corporate performance and women in leadership roles, Canadian women continue to be disproportionately underrepresented within Financial Post 500 companies, according to the 2008 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the FP500.
- Ethnic diversity – Minorities represent a large and growing opportunity in markets across North America especially in regions where minority populations are concentrated. Data based on the 2006 Canadian census highlights 16% of the total population (over 5 million Canadians) identify as a member of a visible minority, up from 13% in 2001 and with higher concentrations in urban areas. Between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population increased at a much faster pace than the total population. Its rate of growth was 27.2%, five times faster than the 5.4% increase for the population as a whole. Immigration is a contributing factor as fully three-quarters (75.0%) of the immigrants who arrived between 2001 and 2006 belonged to a visible minority group. As well, the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the workforce will become increasingly diverse over the next 30 years. Minorities will outnumber Caucasians in the U.S. by 2042, and by 2050, 55% of the working population will be minorities. This explosive growth presents business opportunities for companies not only to attract a diverse workforce but also to attract new clients in a marketplace where buying power and investment needs will rapidly increase.
- Persons with disabilities – An aging North American population is increasing the number of potential clients and employees who identify themselves as a person with a disability. According to Statistics Canada, approximately 4.4 million people in Canada have disabilities; representing 14.3% of Canada's population. The 2006 U.S. Census stated that 15.1% of the U.S. population, or about 41.3 million people, reported having a disability. It is also important to note that disability rate increases with age. Persons with disabilities often have accessibility needs and companies that provide access to products and services through alternate formats will realize a competitive business advantage.
- Aboriginal peoples – The Aboriginal population in Canada has experienced significant growth since 2001, growing nearly six times faster than the rest of the country, according to 2006 census data. The Aboriginal population is also considerably younger, with a median age of 27, compared to 40 among the rest of Canada. This presents opportunities in the workplace and the marketplace.
- Multi generational workforce – Declining birth rates, increased lifespan, greater international competition for labour and skill shortages have resulted in a larger workforce spanning several generations. There are currently four generations of employees in the labour force - Millennial Generation (those born between 1980 and 2000); Generation Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980); Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964); and World War II generation (born in or before 1945). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baby Boomers will make up 38 percent of the country's workforce by 2011. While all age groups want challenging and interesting work, career or skill development, monetary rewards, flexibility and to be treated with respect, how they communicate and the work environment in which they excel also differ.
- Sexual orientation - LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) – According to the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, The LGBT population represents a market of about 100 billion Canadian dollars. It is conservatively estimated that this group is between 4% - 7% of the adult U.S. population (over 18 years of age), or roughly 9 to 16 million American adults. Individuals in the U.S. who identify as LGBT have an estimated market purchasing power of $690 billion.
We recognize that diversity is a complex matter. Each diverse community represents unique issues, opportunities and approaches.