Companies Feel Benefit of Equality and Diversity in Workplace

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Williamson Western Mail

Equality and diversity in the workplace are qualities which can boost a company's bottom line, according to the results of new research.

A study by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government has found nearly seven out of 10 small to medium enterprises in Wales have said that business has improved since signing up to equality and diversity in the workplace.

They cite easier recruitment, a wider choice of skilled labour and compliance with contract requirements as among the benefits of implementing an effective policy on equality - which covers age, race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

The research was carried out as part of the SME Equality Project. Since its establishment in 1998 the project has worked to raise awareness of equality and diversity issues in small companies in Wales.

The project is the only one of its kind in the UK, and its progress is being closely watched by a number of other European countries. As part of a drive to spur businesses in Wales to comply with legislation, adopt positive employment policies and promote equality and diversity issues amongst staff, it has carried out research into the business benefits experienced by more than 2,000 businesses that have participated.

John Bennett is the managing director of Pack IT, based in Cardiff Bay which signed up to the initiative. He said, 'We decided the project was a perfect way for us to further our business. Gaps in our existing policies were addressed and we also looked at a couple of other areas that we had not previously thought about.

'Employees here are my number one priority and investing time in the SME Equality Project is something that can benefit everyone within the business. …