The GCC region has beckoned diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but just like the rest of the world, there’s much more benefit yet to be gained through promoting diversity. Companies that top the charts in gender parity are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average growth compared to their competitors who haven’t yet reached that stage, a recent McKinsey called “Delivering through Diversity” indicates. According to a WEF report, organizations that are open to diverse teams make better decisions 85 percent of the time.
The Top CEO Conference & Awards 2019 has taken note of this gap that needs to be addressed and has used its niche platform to launch The Diversity Council MENA, a diversity and inclusion accelerator begun by Nordic consultancy Above & Beyond Group in partnership with Mediaquest. Tine Arentsen Willumsen, CEO of Above & Beyond Group pointed to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, which has imbibed gender equality as a goal since 2016. While many companies have begun looking at increasing parity in their talent pool, there’s still a way to go for upward mobility within an organization.
“Diversity is an engine for growth. This is not just about gender. This is not just about men and women. This is about the future of businesses. This is about the diversity of thought, and this is actually the best insurance against disruption,” Tine Willumsen said at the “Promoting Diversity in the Middle East and North Africa” plenary session held at the Top CEO Conference & Awards.
Diversity Council MENA
As much as $12 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 if the gender gap was narrowed, McKinsey & Co. reports. To add a sense of perspective, this corresponds to a 26 percent growth in the global GDP and in itself is as much as the combined GDP of Japan, Germany and the UK … and yet, there’s more to inclusion and diversity than a return on investment.
The Diversity Council MENA has already been backed by leading global accounting firms such as PwC and McKinsey in an effort to promote diversity and empower women in the business sphere. This initiative is geared toward bringing everyone from senior management to employees within a company to a common table that can lead to fruitful engagements and cultural transformations.
The three strategic areas of action that the Diversity Council MENA is looking at is:
– Strengthening the pipeline of female talents
– Promoting inclusive leadership to eliminate bias
– Preparing companies to be the preferred workplace of the future
“Currently, in the top global companies, your son still has a 40 percent higher chance of becoming a CEO than your daughter, and this is not fair … something has to change for the benefit of businesses in the region. I believe firmly that together we are stronger. I don’t think that one company can solve this as it can be expensive to reinvent the wheel. So, partnerships are what it’s all about. This way we can lead, learn and impact the agenda,” Tine Willumsen added.