There is a large body of evidence to show that diversity in the workplace, and particularly within teams leads a number of significant benefits. By diversity we mean differences such as gender, race, social background and cognitive preferences.
One study completed by McKinsey which looked at 366 large companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States found that:
- Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set (that is, bottom-quartile companies are lagging rather than merely not leading).
- In the United States, there is a positive linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance.
- In the United Kingdom, greater gender diversity on the senior-executive team corresponded to the highest performance improvement: for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity, earnings before tax rose by 3.5 percent.
- The unequal performance of companies in the same industry and the same country implies that diversity is a competitive differentiator shifting market share toward more diverse companies.
In addition, there is specific evidence that including cognitive diversity in teams leads to greater problem- solving abilities.
For further reading and evidence see: