Survey: Diverse Workforce = Reduced Costs

October 25, 2005 ( - Employers with a diverse workforce enjoy both reduced costs and improved profits, according to a new survey.

The 2005 Workplace Diversity Practices Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said the diverse company will have reduced costs in absenteeism and retention, and improved recruitment, public image and overall corporate culture. Seventy-eight percent of HR professionals said that diversity practices have helped reduce costs while 74% said they improved the financial bottom line, according to a SHRM news release.

Diversity at the executive level is among the best indications of how committed an organization is to diversity, the survey found Fifty-three percent of HR professionals agreed that their board of directors was diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, education and socioeconomics. The survey also found that HR professionals indicated that a diverse board generally increased the effectiveness of the diversity practices in the organization.

According to survey results large organizations are more likely to measure the impact of diversity while small and medium organizations generally lacked the resources to do so. However, only 38% of all organizations have a method of measuring the impact of diversity practices.

“If organizations want to remain competitive in the marketplace, diversity has to be a part of its strategic goal,” said Susan Meisinger, president and CEO of SHRM, in the news release. “With Baby Boomers expected to work long into retirement and the population growing more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, organizations should use strong diversity initiatives now to maintain their competitiveness.”

The survey was based on responses from 400 human resource professionals.